A sprawling yet intimate work of melancholy beauty... an impressive, beautifully constructed volume that is certain to be a benchmark for much of what will follow in graphic fiction.Winnipeg Free Press
A masterful work by a legendary cartoonist about the decline of small business and the subsequent erosion of familial relations and one's sanity
Twenty years in the making, Clyde Fans peels back the optimism of mid-twentieth century capitalism. Legendary Canadian cartoonist Seth lovingly shows the rituals, hopes, and delusions of a middle-class that has long ceased to exist in North America—garrulous men in wool suits extolling the virtues of the wares to taciturn shopkeepers with an eye on the door. Much like the myth of an ever-growing economy, the Clyde Fans family unit is a fraud—the patriarch has abandoned the business to mismatched sons, one who strives to keep the business afloat and the other who retreats into the arms of the remaining parent.
Abe and Simon Matchcard are brothers, the second generation struggling to save their archaic family business of selling oscillating fans in a world switching to air conditioning. At Clyde Fans’ center is Simon, who flirts with becoming a salesman as a last-ditch effort to leave the protective walls of the family home, but is ultimately unable to escape Abe’s critical voice in his head. As the business crumbles so does any remaining relationship between the two men, both of whom choose very different life paths but still end up utterly unhappy.
Seth’s intimate storytelling and gorgeous art allow urban landscapes and detailed period objects to tell their own stories as the brothers struggle to find themselves suffocating in an airless city home. An epic time capsule of a storyline that begs rereading.
Praise for Clyde Fans
Clyde Fans is Seth’s magnum opus.Paul Gravett, Times Literary Supplement
The Canadian creator puts two decades of thoughtfully plotted work on dazzling display in this "picture novel" - a career achievement that masterfully toys with time.The Washington Post, best of 2019
A masterpiece.The Toronto Star
Clyde Fans is about the remembrance of times past, or rather lost. There’s an ache for yesterday in it, yes, but also a recognition of the impossibility of that ache.The Scotland Herald
There’s no room for nostalgia in Seth’s vision. The past is as sharp and painful as the present. In fact, the past is the present, conjured in words and pictures, existing in the spaces between what’s said and unsaid, what’s seen and unseen... In the end, as we close the pages on Simon and Abe and step back into our own lives, we might feel — even for just a moment — that we finally know what time looks like.Brian Selznick, The New York Times
This deceptively mannered “picture novel” isn’t an excuse for nostalgia; rather, it shows the furies that drive the mismatched Matchcard brothers, who have inherited their father’s business, into lifelong enmity. It’s an epic about the passing of time, flavored intensely by the passing of time — 20 years — involved in its own creation.The New York Times
Sometime Southwestern Ontario resident Seth brought his masterwork to a close in 2019. The conclusion of this book packs a punch. Worth waiting for more than two decades until this labour of love was completed.The London Free Press
Clyde Fans achieves the rare combination of confronting human mortality while simultaneously ofering comfort: it provides a necessary antidote to human enterprise, doomed always to collapse into dust.André Babyn, Literary Review of Canada
Seth offers a masterly account of the passing of time… There’s plenty of quiet desperation, but also a serene beauty in carefully drawn shopfronts, and a warmth to Seth’s slow waltz through fading lives.The Guardian, best of 2019
This artful and heartfelt book balances rosiness and realism, making precious fiction from the stuff of ordinary lives.The Guardian
Clyde Fans is a moving examination of the ways our choices in life can either trap us or set us free.The Georgia Straight
A poignant meditation on memory and family.The AV Club
Readers will be dazzled by this impressive graphic novel... This isn’t just a story, or even, as it terms itself, a “picture novel”—it is a brilliant journey into the heart of midcentury darkness.Publishers Weekly starred review
Though Seth fills his comics with old buildings, vintage logos, and retro-looking toys, all drawn in a deft ink-and-wash style that would be at home in a New Yorker magazine from the 1940s, Seth uses these visual cues to draw the reader into stories that explore richer and deeper territory than mere longing for the past.Publishers Weekly
Clyde Fans achieves in not only telling a story rife with poignant and memorable moments, but it also conveys with sophistication a depth of feeling. There is sentimentality without cloying emotion, just as there are bitter shame and remorse without devolving into a depressive tome.Pop Matters
There are pages and pages of what is essentially thinking, rendered as comics.Paste
Rich with the melancholy and sad swagger of great salesmen stories like Death of a Salesman and Glengarry Glen Ross, Clyde Fans is fueled by its interrogation of, and nostalgia for, the past.Lit Hub
Seth’s deceptively simple illustrations, reminiscent of classic New Yorker cartoonists, conjure a rich sense of melancholy and nostalgia as he explores aging, memory, regret, and the endless march of time.Library Journal
A stunning graphic novel by one of the medium’s greatest creators, Seth’s Clyde Fans is about people living in a memory fog, and the strange reverie that life takes on when one grows older.KCRW Bookworm
A tour de force that captures the strange sadness of nostalgia and how it betrays the past and makes the present unobtainable. Seth masterfully recreates the lives of two brothers—one too rough, the other too weak—by illuminating painfully bleak isolated moments in hotel rooms, coffee shops, and highways. He also chronicles collections of tiny knick knacks and household objects in mundane montages that will break your heart with their beauty. The drawings are a feat of wonder, their composition built on the architectural blueprint of loneliness.Heather O'Neill, author of The Lonely Hearts Hotel...
Clyde Fans is a masterpiece of storytelling that reinvents a medium as it goes along. Seth is one of Canada's great storytellers and writers who bounds from strength to strength. We are lucky to have him in our world.Douglas Coupland
Clyde Fans reveals itself as being about memories, about their function as perpetual torture that can engulf you.Comics Beat
Seth is one of the greatest cartoonists who’s ever lived and Clyde Fans is one of the greatest graphic novels ever written. What more do you need to know?Chris Ware, author of Building Stories
One of the best graphic novelists in the world.CBC Books
Seth’s masterwork is an eloquent summation of his career-long themes: stultifying nostalgia for an irretrievable past and an equally crippling alienation that leads to tragic isolation.Booklist, Starred Review
Worth the wait. Seth is one of the greatest living cartoonists.Boing Boing