Wednesday, February 27, 2013

My Geeky Week Review: Building Stories by Chris Ware

 

 

 

 

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Publisher:

Pantheon

 

I was really intrigued by the premise of Building Stories. This project written and drawn by Chris Ware has been over 10 years in the making. This set is a love letter to the printed book in a rapidly growing digital landscape. Told in 14 different formats : Newspaper comic, hardback golden book format, pamphlets, the story centers around an unnamed female  protagonist and the apartment building she lives in. There were some really emotionally resonating parts to this story. I especially enjoyed the parts where the building was given a “ voice” and able to express its opinions of itself and its tenants.

 

The bulk of the story is focused on a young woman and her feelings of boredom and  loneliness.  There is a very relatable element in her struggles. I think all of us at one time have been locked in a repetitive patterns that keep us from moving forward and connecting with others. In the first parts of the book I was really impressed with Chris’ ability to communicate these emotions with very little dialogue. As I worked through the various formats of the story though I found very little growth taking place with the characters. The realistic exploration of the main characters life became very depressing to me. I don't argue the realism of her emotions and actions but she wasn’t very likeable.

 

Even when the narrative changes venue to know show our main character married with a child she is still locked in an energy of stagnation and unhappiness.

If I was to rate the design and uniqueness of the the format of this project I would give it a many high marks. However I found a lack of empathy for any of the characters which meant I just “plowed” through the various sections without a completely satisfied experience. I kept waiting for the “point” or failing that, enough of building blocks in  the story to let me form my own opinions about the themes and ultimate fates of the characters.

 

This is definitely a format of storytelling I would love to see more of in the future.

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