On sale date: December 6, 2014
Utopia comes with a price in this European cartoonist's graphic novel debut inspired by his mid-century colonialist grandfather.
In 1947, the author's grandfather, Arsene Schrauwen, traveled across the ocean to a mysterious, dangerous jungle colony at the behest of his cousin. Together they would build something deemed impossible: a modern utopia in the wilderness — but not before Arsene falls in love with his cousin's wife, Marieke. Whether delirious from love or a fever-inducing jungle virus, Arsene's loosening grip on reality is mirrored by the graphic novel reader's uncertainty of what is imagined or real by Arsene. This first full-length graphic novel from the critically-acclaimed Olivier Schrauwen is an engrossing, sometimes funny, slightly surreal and often beautiful narrative.
Finalist, 2014 Los Angeles Times Book Prize – Graphic Novel/Comics
Shortlist, Slate's 2014 Cartoonist Studio Prize for Best Print Comic of the Year
"…Arsene Schrauwen is one of the most complex, and simply best, comics released this year. …[It] uses simplified drawings, collage-like text and two colors (red and blue) to convey a narrative that moves between the real and the fantastic with grace and facility. The result is an experience both utterly original and strangely familiar, like a dream." — Hillary Brown - Paste
"The book is flat-out one of the most complex and interesting—visually, thematically, conceptually—comics of the last few years.... The Belgian cartoonist is the embodiment of the idea that cartooning is writing with pictures, and with Arsene he proves himself a better writer than basically everyone else working today." — Shea Hennum - Paste
"In this crackpot graphic novel from the historically minded and utterly original Schrauwen, the Belgian cartoonist imagines a fanciful history that slips the bonds of reality almost immediately. … The author's obsessions with infestation, death, mutation, and genitalia, scroll in a continuous waking dream set amid a Magritte-Dali landscape. [Starred Review]" — Publishers Weekly
"Occasionally, a creator kicks the comics-medium football not only over the goalposts but into another stadium entirely. Schrauwen's off-the-wall ode to his grandfather's life, love, and virus-induced mental walkabout -- rendered in burnt orange and cornflower blue -- is artistically simple but deeply symbolic. The whole book has the hallucinatory feel of a curious found item that inspires an uncanny anxiousness." — John DiBello - Publishers Weekly
"One of the very best graphic novels of the decade." — Dan Nadel - The Comics Journal
- Full color.
- 9.1" × 11.3"