In the Flesh

Overview

A graphic novel for the twenty-first-century featuring tales of tortured souls and tormented passion—brilliantly etched in words and striking visuals Some people fall in love, get married, and thrive in happy relationships—and then there are others. From Israeli enfant terrible Koren Shadmi comes a wickedly literate, darkly poetic, beautifully illustrated story collection that exposes with nightmarish clarity the sorrows of love and desire. Read in these pages such tales as:Satisfaction Av.: The terrifying depths...
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In the Flesh

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Overview

A graphic novel for the twenty-first-century featuring tales of tortured souls and tormented passion—brilliantly etched in words and striking visuals Some people fall in love, get married, and thrive in happy relationships—and then there are others. From Israeli enfant terrible Koren Shadmi comes a wickedly literate, darkly poetic, beautifully illustrated story collection that exposes with nightmarish clarity the sorrows of love and desire. Read in these pages such tales as:Satisfaction Av.: The terrifying depths to which an unloved child once sank return to haunt her.Radioactive Girlfriend: A student embarks on a torrid love affair with a young woman whose powerful allure is literally nuclear. Pastry Paradise: A near-death experience takes away a woman's will to live and love…but awakens in her a dark and insatiable appetite.Antoinette: A young man becomes obsessed with the girl of his dreams: a gorgeous—but headless—sylph. …and another six tales of alienation and angst.With brutal strokes and lacerating wit, Shadmi introduces a haunting gallery of lost souls that will both repel and captivate.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Shadmi's art is expressive and simple…but it's his sharp writing (shades of Etgar Keret's violent whimsy) that really brings this collection together.” —Publishers Weekly“Good stuff, especially if you like Kafka or comics creators Rutu Modan and Mark Murphy.”—Booklist
Publishers Weekly

In his debut collection of graphic short stories, Israel-born Shadmi tries to have the last word in sexual malevolence in angst-ridden tales of couplings that go horrendously awry. Alienation reigns in pieces like "The Fun Lawn," where a man with an underage online porn habit who works in a giant dog suit on a children's TV show is flummoxed when a beautiful young woman comes on to him, but may just like him for the dog suit. Most of the more effective stories go straight for David Cronenberg-style issues of bodily invasion, such as "Radioactive Girlfriend," in which a man's proximity to his lover proves potentially fatal. Surrealist pieces like "Pastry Paradise" and "A Lavish Affair" not so subtly conflate issues of sexual desire, hunger and disgust to fairly little effect. The more simply constructed stories tend to have more punch, like "What Is Wrong with Me?" which humorously contrasts what happens after a late-night hookup separates in the morning; the man pines in agonized love while the woman ignores his calls and watches TV. Shadmi's art is expressive and simple, focusing on entwined limbs and eyes pinned open with worry, but it's his sharp writing (shades of Etgar Keret's violent whimsy) that really brings this collection together. (Feb.)

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Kirkus Reviews
A debut collection of ten short graphic narratives from Israel native Shadmi. Reading these stories might take less than an hour, but their effects could last longer than the most haunting nightmare. Are they existential parables? Postmodern pornography: graphic sex that sparks more revulsion than desire? Illustrations of what one character terms "the cruelty of memory"? In many of the stories, people who are strangers to each other, perhaps even to themselves, share their perversions or obsessions as they joylessly mate and part. "The Fun Lawn" features a porn addict whose day job is dressing up in a dog suit for a children's TV show; he meets his match in a woman who seems to want to have sex with the big dog. In "Antoinette," a man becomes obsessed with a decapitated woman who cradles her head in her arm. Several narratives concern oral addictions that confuse food with sex. The best and most ambitious piece is "Radioactive Girlfriend," in which a high-school student who sleeps through an atomic bomb while everyone else is in fallout shelters attracts the one boyfriend who isn't afraid of radioactive contamination. Describing the nuclear blast, which produces a gorgeous sunrise, Shadmi writes: "As the whole town was bathed in radiant light, the most insignificant and mundane details of suburbia were suddenly reborn into a meaningful existence." Christine, who was expected to die from exposure, finds herself more full of life than ever, sapping the strength of her boyfriend. Whatever any of this might "mean" in some linear thematic sense, the unsettling power of these stories comes from the tension between the hyper-realistic drawings and the elliptically surreal narratives. Not for thesqueamish or literal-minded, but in a genre whose artists routinely test all sorts of boundaries, this debut collection obliterates them. Author appearance at New York Comic-Con. Agent: Bob Mecoy/Creative Book Services
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345508713
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/3/2009
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 145
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

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