Building Stories

Chris Ware

Building Stories

Building Stories" follows the inhabitants of a three-flat Chicago apartment house: a thirty-year-old woman who has yet to find someone with whom to spend the rest of her life; a couple who wonder if they can bear each other's company for another minute; and finally an elderly woman who never married and is the building's landlady... 4.6 out of 5 based on 7 reviews
Building Stories

Omniscore:

Classification Fiction
Genre Comics & Graphic Novels
Format Hardcover
Pages 246
RRP
Date of Publication October 2012
ISBN 978-0224078122
Publisher Jonathan Cape
 

Building Stories" follows the inhabitants of a three-flat Chicago apartment house: a thirty-year-old woman who has yet to find someone with whom to spend the rest of her life; a couple who wonder if they can bear each other's company for another minute; and finally an elderly woman who never married and is the building's landlady...

Reviews

The Guardian

Sam Leith

When you read a Chris Ware comic you can be fairly sure that you'll end up with a migraine from the tiny writing, or suicidal from the worldview, and yet he's so damn good you do it anyway. It's impossible to overstate how meticulously his work hangs together: the symmetries on a single page; the motifs that worm through it; the multiple counterpointed stories.

21/09/2012

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The Los Angeles Times

David L. Ulin

Ware's work has always involved a certain nuance, relying on an almost architectural precision and a nearly claustrophobic attention to detail, in which small drawings, often repeated, mix with an overflow of written language to pull us deep inside each page. At times, the sheer volume of text and image can make his comics hard to penetrate, but that's part of the point, to remind us of the act of reading at every turn.

26/10/2012

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The Daily Telegraph

Jake Wallis Simons

The lid comes off to reveal 14 different books, pamphlets, posters and miscellanea which, when pieced together, form a multi-dimensional story about the inhabitants of a Chicago apartment block. We meet, in exquisitely intimate detail, a melancholy thirtysomething woman with an amputated leg; a couple whose relationship is poisoned with the deepest acrimony; and the elderly landlady of the building, her life locked in a cycle of loneliness and nostalgia. All of this is presented in Ware’s distinctive style, which blends evocations of the aesthetic of the early 20th-century American south (Ware collects ragtime paraphernalia) with a melancholy existentialism and pawky humour.

01/10/2012

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The Times

Tom Gatti

They are ... “building stories” because that’s exactly what the reader has to do: absorb, in a haphazard and nonlinear way, a series of vivid memories, and assemble four life stories. The characters occasionally collide, but Ware has also woven in more subtle thematic reflections and allusions; the box is effectively a big cardboard echo chamber. And the regular adjustment required by the different formats — having to stand over a huge poster or closely inspect a tiny booklet — only increases the intensity of the experience.

20/10/2012

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The Observer

Rachel Cooke

Lives are thrown wide open, the private moments no one ever sees brought carefully out into the light. A lavatory floods, and induces in its owner an existential crisis. A woman tries, and fails, to do up her jeans. Another woman inserts a tampon. Ware's drawings of people, all dots and circles, are rudimentary on the face of it – and yet no emotion is beyond him. It's amazing, this economy. Even more deft, sometimes he will use some other body part to do the work of a frown, a wince, or a pair of lips pressed tightly together.

21/10/2012

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The New York Times

Douglas Wolk

It’s so far ahead of the game that it tempts you to find fault just to prove that a human made it, and there are absolutely faults to be found. The way Ware hangs a lantern on his story’s weaker beats, for instance — when a not-quite-dead baby mouse reminds one character of a long-ago abortion, she thinks: “What a ridiculous metaphor . . . really, could it have been any more obvious? I was embarrassed for who or whatever was coming up with the script for my life” — doesn’t make them any stronger.

18/10/2012

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The Sunday Times

Phil Baker

Ware’s overall joke, and it is something of a sick one, is the disparity between the jolly format and the emotional bleakness it contains. What makes it more than just a work of candy-coloured cynicism is the quality of observation he brings to the intimate details of his ­characters’ lives.

11/11/2012

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