Temperance

Temperance

by Cathy Malkasian
     
 

The second book from 2008 Eisner “Best New Talent” Cathy Malkasian.
Do ideas of war and enemies hold a people together? Is a culture of conflict too seductive not to be irresistible? These are the questions Cathy Malkasian explores in her second graphic novel, Temperance.
Malkasian creates, as she did in the critically acclaimed Percy Gloom, a

Overview

The second book from 2008 Eisner “Best New Talent” Cathy Malkasian.
Do ideas of war and enemies hold a people together? Is a culture of conflict too seductive not to be irresistible? These are the questions Cathy Malkasian explores in her second graphic novel, Temperance.
Malkasian creates, as she did in the critically acclaimed Percy Gloom, a fully realized, multi-layered world, inhabited by vividly realized characters. After a brutal injury in battle, Lester has no memory of his prior life. For the next thirty years his wife does everything to keep him from remembering—and re-constructing—a society, Blessedbowl, that elevates him as a hero. Blessedbowl is a cultural convergence of lies, memories, stories, and beliefs. Its people thrive on ideas of persecution, exceptionality, and enemies, convinced that war lurks just outside their walls. They have come to depend on Lester, their greatest war hero, to lead the charge once the Final Battle begins.
What kind of enemy could topple such a people and its walls? Mere memory, it seems, as Lester gradually emerges from his amnesia. Temperance is an eyewitness’s account of recovery and awakening. The graphic novel works on two levels. It considers the concepts of violence, stories, and belief, and their place in holding a culture together, slyly echoing contemporary political issues in a nation at a stressful time currently at war with a ubiquitous enemy. Secondly, the fissures in Lester and Minerva’s marriage is echoed in the greater political upheaval around them.
Malkasian creates a densely textured social context, masterfully conveying the idiosyncratic physical domain with its spiraling structures and quasi-medieval architecture along with intimate yet plastic portraits of her characters in a rich, tonal pencil line. Temperance is a galvanizing work of empathy and violence by one of today’s the most thoughtful and accomplished cartoonists.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Lester believes he lost his leg in the great war, fighting with his father-in-law, Pa, against the enemy. He spends his days patrolling the walled city-ship Blessedbowl, and his nights drinking himself into a dreamless sleep. What Lester does not rememberis that he actually lost his leg (and his memory) defending his wife, Minerva, against the abusive Pa. He also does not know that Blessedbowl is not a ship but a walled town in the middle of a vast forest, designed to keep its "founder," Pa,out. And he also does not know that his wooden leg is alive and will soon go out looking for Pa. Trying to keep up with the plot of Eisner Award-winning cartoonist Malkasian's (Percy Gloom) twisted allegory can be frustrating, but the real point is to show off Malkasian's atmospheric art, which is more than up to carrying the load. Relying heavily on pencil shadings to establish mood, Malkasian's restraint of line results in vividly drawn but still complex characters: homely Minerva is both desperate and resourceful, Pa appears both menacing and pitiful, and addled Lester retainshis fundamental courage. Flashes of sharp dialogue suggest that Malkasian's writing may someday catch up with her considerable artistic talent. Until then, her audience still has plenty to admire. (June)
Booklist
“Starred Review. Expressive and generously detailed pencil sketches serve as an excellent complement to the spare but exacting text to form a narrative that should cut through any reader’s disbelief. ... Malkasian continues to demonstrate bravura storytelling skills... Excellent work for both fans and serious literary readers ready to try sequential art.”
Eden Miller - Comicsgirl
“This is why I read comics.... the end is nothing short of transcendent.... This is an amazing example of what comics can be.”
John Seven - Reverse Direction
“With Temperance, Malkasian has heightened the depth of her ideas and demanded more from her audience. It’s a religious parable, to be sure, but it doesn’t stop right there, instead going into the territory of the motivations of belief, including the roles of fear, wrongdoing and falsehoods.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781606993231
Publisher:
Fantagraphics Books
Publication date:
06/22/2010
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
8.20(w) x 10.10(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
16 - 18 Years

Meet the Author

Cathy Malkasian is an animation director and cartoonist. Her credits include Rugrats, The Wild Thornberrys film
(for which she received a British Academy Award nomination), and most recently,
over 20 episodes of Curious George for PBS since 2008.

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