Booklist reviews WILSON

“Wilson” / Booklist / Gordon Flagg / September 28, 2010

The latest in a long line of brainy but alienated protagonists Clowes has created over the past two decades-Enid in Ghost World (1997) is the best known-Wilson may be the most deftly delineated of the lot. He is a middle-aged loner who voices his misanthropic views in self-absorbed soliloquies and harangues strangers in coffee shops and waiting rooms. When his father dies, he gives in to the sudden need to reconnect with the closest thing he has to remaining family, his long-absent ex-wife and the nowgrown daughter she put up for adoption after separation from him. Wilson's social ineptitude leads him inexorably to disaster, but by his story's end, years later, he manages to find a measure of hard-won grace. Clowes tells Wilson's story in 70 single-page vignettes, each one drawn in a different style, from the humorous simplicity of magazine gag cartoons to detailed realism; this virtuosity allows him to convey both the darkly humorous and the emotionally wrought aspects of Wilson's existence. A cautionary tale about the consequences of intellect without empathy.

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