SLEEPWALK and JAR OF FOOLS reviewed by The Times of London

“The Times Christmas Books 2008: Graphic Novels” / The Times of London / Neel Mukherjee / November 30, 2008

Another such retrospective collection of early work is Sleepwalk and Other Stories (Faber & Faber, £9.99/ £9.49) by the great Adrian Tomine. Tomine can not only draw, he can also write eloquent, penetrating prose that catches the slippery essence of the drift and alienation of lonely lives: an old woman revisits a café where she used to have lunch with a lover decades ago, a young man misses his flight and becomes a secret observer of his own life with him missing from it, a young woman pores over the personals in a local paper and confuses the imagined and the real, another young woman slips in and out of the role of friendly helper of a blind man with disturbing ease. Extraordinary.
Like Tomine's, Jason Lutes' artwork is also beautifully realistic. His Jar of Fools (Faber & Faber, £12.99/ £11.69) tells the story of Ernie Weiss, an alcoholic, washed-up magician trying to cope with the inexplicable suicide of his brother and the end of a romance, when his senile mentor, Al Flosso, reappears in his ruin of a life. Faber's UK issue of this heartbreaking, deep and emotionally vast novel, first published in book form in the US more than a decade ago, marks the introduction to a new readership of a book that will come to be seen as a turning point in mature psychological realism in the graphic novel genre.

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