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Tales of Woe
     

Tales of Woe

5.0 2
by John Reed
 

True stories of totally undeserved suffering. Spectacularly depressing. Nobody gets their just deserts. Crushing defeats. No happy endings. Abject misery. Pointless, endless grief.

No lessons of temperance or moderation. No saving grace. No divine intervention. No salvation.
 
Sin, suffering, redemption. That’s the movie, that’s the front

Overview

True stories of totally undeserved suffering. Spectacularly depressing. Nobody gets their just deserts. Crushing defeats. No happy endings. Abject misery. Pointless, endless grief.

No lessons of temperance or moderation. No saving grace. No divine intervention. No salvation.
 
Sin, suffering, redemption. That’s the movie, that’s the front page news, that’s the story of popular culture—of American culture. A ray of hope. A comeuppance. An all-for-the-best. Makes it easier to deal with the world’s misery—to know that there’s a reason behind it, that it’ll always work out in the end, that people get what they deserve. The fact: sometimes people suffer for no reason. No sin, no redemption—just suffering, suffering, suffering. Tales of Woe compiles today’s most awful narratives of human wretchedness. This is not Hollywood catharsis (someone overcomes something and the viewer is uplifted), this is the katharsis of Ancient Greece: you watch people suffer horribly, and then feel better about your own life. Tales of Woe tells stories of murder, accident, depravity, cruelty, and senseless unhappiness: and all true.
 
The Tales: strange, unexpected, morbidly enticing. Told straight—with elegance, restraint, and simplicity. The design: a one-of-kind white text on black paper, fluidly readable, and coupled with fifty pages of full-color art. 

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In the 25 essays that comprise this grimly fascinating volume, Reed shines a light into some very dark corners. From its opening tale of South African baboons with a taste for human babies (they start with the heads, in case you're wondering) to a thoroughly icky account of a middle-aged woman's seduction of young boys, these are literary snapshots of the world at its worst. Some of the players are familiar - Sarah Palin makes a profoundly odd appearance - while others are victims whose circumstances weren't sensational enough to warrant mainstream media attention. In the hands of a lesser writer, these tales could easily have slipped into the realm of exploitation, but Reed never lets that happen. His prose, by turns terse and lyrical, is accompanied by 45 pages of original full-color art from 11 pop artists. Representing a wide range of styles and often reminiscent of pre-code comic art of the 1930s and '40s, the illustrations are perfect companions to Reed's bleak but fiercely compelling tableaux. It's intriguing stuff, but not for the faint-hearted (or weak-stomached). Illustrations.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781576875407
Publisher:
powerHouse Books
Publication date:
08/17/2010
Pages:
204
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.00(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

John Reed is the author of the novels A Still Small Voice (Delta, 2001), Snowball’s Chance (Roof Books, 2002), and The Whole (MTV Press, 2005), as well as a play adapted from the works of William Shakespeare, All the World’s A Grave (Plume, 2008).

“John Reed excels in the realm of strange.”     —San Francisco Examiner

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Tales of Woe 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
BobEtier More than 1 year ago
Every day, tragic things are reported. Those that do get coverage are only a small percentage of the daily heartbreak suffered throughout the lands that comprise our planet. Sometimes, though, the unfairness and unexpectedness of an event will strike a particularly responsive chord in the reader, and it provokes serious, profound sadness upon reflection. "Tales of Woe," a new book from author John Reed, is a collection of true stories about people who became victims for one reason only: they were at the wrong place at an incredibly wrong time. There is no good reason for their suffering or deaths, unless the randomness of the universe is considered. Americans are accustomed to "American Tragedy"-we are weaned on stories of hope, stories in which there is a resolution; although not always a happy ending, justice is served, sinners are punished. "Tales of Woe" borrows from Greek tragedy: ". you watch people suffer horribly, and then feel better about your own life. Tales of Woe tells stories of murder, accident, depravity, cruelty, and senseless unhappiness." Each of the twenty-five stories is bleak and hopeless. They go to the frustration of fate, the annihilation of the spirit, and the incredibly darkest aspects of human nature. White print on black pages emphasizes the despair conveyed in words. Reed reports each story in a passionless voice, letting the intensity of the circumstances and situation influence the reader. It is a brilliant approach to the subject matter, all of which is tinged with melancholia and irony. Illustrating "Tales of Woe" are the works of eleven artists. Reed searched through the works of over 3,000 artists to find the exact look he wanted for his book. He wanted illustrations "that were reminiscent of the pre-comic code art of the 1930s, the real stuff that told a story of woe in of itself." Using garish color and explicit images, these illustrations spotlight the violence and tragedy so common to many lives. A woman dies in her sleep and her toddler son dies of starvation and dehydration within days because no one knew he was alone in an apartment with the dead body of his mother. A PVC art installation levitates and collapses, killing and injuring the people viewing it. A young woman leaves secretarial school, is spirited away by a gang that prostitutes her and then kills her. Homeland Security delays result in the death of an infant. Witches are rounded up and exterminated in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Children play in streams polluted with toxic waste and suffer cancer. What makes so many of these stories unbearably sorrow-filled is the everyday-ness of the activities that tragically devolve . Reed's dispassionate reportage combines with illustrations that nearly leap off the page, and grabs the reader by the throat, screaming "Unfair? Unfair doesn't begin to define life!" For Reed, objective as he seems, betrays outrage by the stories he chooses to tell. "Tales of Woe" is not a book to be ignored. It is startling, scary, and relevant. It chills because the reader knows THIS is the world in which we live. Bottom Line: Would I buy "Tales of Woe"? Undoubtedly. Although not particularly pleasant, it is electric, at times poignant, and deeply affecting. From blogcritics.org
Anonymous More than 1 year ago