The Voyeurs

Overview

"The Voyeurs is the work of a mature writer, if not one of the most sincere voices of her literary generation. It's a fun, honest read that spans continents, relationships and life decisions. I loved it."—Chris Ware, Acme Novelty Library

"As she watches other people living life, and watches herself watching them, Bell's pen becomes a kind of laser, first illuminating the surface distractions of the world, then scorching them away to reveal a deeper reality that is almost too ...

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Overview

"The Voyeurs is the work of a mature writer, if not one of the most sincere voices of her literary generation. It's a fun, honest read that spans continents, relationships and life decisions. I loved it."—Chris Ware, Acme Novelty Library

"As she watches other people living life, and watches herself watching them, Bell's pen becomes a kind of laser, first illuminating the surface distractions of the world, then scorching them away to reveal a deeper reality that is almost too painful and too beautiful to bear."— Alison Bechdel, Fun Home

"A master of the exquisite detail, Bell provides a welcome peephole into our lives."—Françoise Mouly, The New Yorker

"I don't think I could tolerate her if she wasn't so talented."—Michel Gondry, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

The Voyeurs is a real-time memoir of a turbulent five years in the life of renowned cartoonist, diarist, and filmmaker Gabrielle Bell. It collects episodes from her award-winning series Lucky, in which she travels to Tokyo, Paris, the South of France, and all over the United States, but remains anchored by her beloved Brooklyn, where sidekick Tony provides ongoing insight, offbeat humor, and enduring friendship.

Gabrielle Bell's work has been selected for the 2007, 2009, 2010, and 2011 Houghton-Mifflin Best American Comics and the Yale Anthology of Graphic Fiction, and has been featured in McSweeney's, The Believer, and Vice magazines. "Cecil and Jordan In New York," the title story of her most recent book, was adapted for the screen by Bell and director Michel Gondry in the film anthology Tokyo! She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Autobiographical cartoonist Bell combines comic charm, obsessive self-examination, and an oddly entertaining touch of self-pity (“I’ve pretty much spent my life trying to be a cartoonist, and what do I have to show for it? A wikipedia page and arrested development”) in a new series of full-color vignettes that document her life as part of a free-floating community of indie comics artists drifting between the neighborhood bars of Brooklyn and L.A. and an international and domestic circuit of comics conventions. Add to those attributes a vividly depicted sense of the surreal, evoked through a methodical six-panel-a-page grid and panels crowded with Bell’s whiny (but funny) self-critical text and detailed, stylishly schematic drawings of her life, lovers, friends and neurotic obsessions. While the collection has its share of humorous contradictions—the account of her relationship and breakup with filmmaker Michel Gondry manages to be both sweetly loopy and a little mean—it also depicts a darker, more demandingly neurotic and depressive Bell than her previous books, while also offering a thoughtful account of her meandering path to making art. So what if she’s a high maintenance girlfriend? Her thoughtful and revealing comics are eccentric, funny, and irresistibly readable. (Sept.)
From the Publisher

"One of the Best Nonfiction Books of the year."—Kirkus Reviews

"One of the Best Graphic Novels of the year."—Publishers Weekly

"Best Graphic Memoir."—The Atlantic Wire

"As a baseline, [Bell's] work is always graceful and funny, while still extremely intense and thoughtful. There's just no one out there with a voice quite like hers. But then on top of that, this book is just plain juicy, as it documents parts of her relationship with filmmaker Michel Gondry. So if you're into poking your nose into that sort of thing, this book has an extra thrill to it. Also it is gorgeous and will look lovely on your bookshelf. If you're into that sort of thing, too."—Jami Attenberg, The Middlesteins

"Playfully drawn and provocatively written, the memoir reinforces Bell's standing among the first rank of the genre's artists."—Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

"[Gabrielle Bell's] thoughtful and revealing comics are eccentric, funny, and irresistibly readable."—Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

"You could say The Voyeurs is the work of a writer’s writer, but it’s actually something more cool, more exotic, more punk: a rare glimpse of the fiercely mysterious human heart, observed in its natural habitat."—The Comics Journal

"[...] Bell's work stands out for its meticulous, detailed presentation, in both words and pictures. When she tells author Lorrie Moore "what I'd really like to do is write" (Moore's cartoon-perfect response: "Oh, no!"), one can't help but wonder what kind of prose book this gifted voice might produce."—Rain Taxi Review of Books

"The Voyeurs is the work of a mature writer, if not one of the most sincere voices of her literary generation. It's a fun, honest read that spans continents, relationships and life decisions. I loved it."—Chris Ware, Acme Novelty Library

"As she watches other people living life, and watches herself watching them, Bell's pen becomes a kind of laser, first illuminating the surface distractions of the world, then scorching them away to reveal a deeper reality that is almost too painful and too beautiful to bear."— Alison Bechdel, Fun Home

"A master of the exquisite detail, Bell provides a welcome peephole into our lives."—Françoise Mouly, The New Yorker

"A concise short story cartoonist and an accomplished storyteller of the mundane, Gabrielle Bell humorously blends the extraordinary — shooting a movie in Japan, and the all-too common — obsessing about a pimple. A master of the exquisite detail, Bell provides a welcome peephole into our lives.”—Françoise Mouly, The New Yorker

“One of the best things going in auto-bio inflected comics these days.”—Art Spiegelman, Maus

Kirkus Reviews
"Graphic memoir" only hints at the artistry of a complex, literary-minded author who resists the bare-all confessionalism so common to the genre and blurs the distinction between fiction and factual introspection. Who are "The Voyeurs?" In the short, opening title piece, they are a mixed-gender group standing on an urban rooftop, watching a couple have sex through a window in a nearby building. They tend to find the experience "uncomfortable," even "creepy," though those who remain raptly silent may well be more interested, even titillated. Bell (Lucky, 2006, etc.) is also a voyeur of sorts, chronicling the lives of others in significant detail while contemplating her own. As she admits before addressing an arts class in frigid Minneapolis, where she knows the major interest will be on how she has been able to turn her comics into a career, "I feel I need to disclaim this ‘story.' I set myself the task of reporting my trip, though there's not much to it, and I can't back out now. It's my compulsion to do this, it's my way, I suppose, of fighting against the meaninglessness constantly crowding in." The memoir encompasses travels that take her from Brooklyn to Los Angeles and from Japan to France, while addressing the challenges of long-distance relationships, panic attacks, contemporary feminism, Internet obsessiveness, the temptation to manipulate life to provide material for her work, and the ultimate realization, in the concluding "How I Make My Comics," of her creative process: "Then I want to blame everyone I've known ever for all the failures and frustrations of my life, and I want to call someone up and beg them to please help me out of this misery somehow, and when I realize how futile both these things are I feel the cold, sharp sting of the reality that I'm totally and utterly alone in the world. Then I slap on a punchline and bam, I'm done." Playfully drawn and provocatively written, the memoir reinforces Bell's standing among the first rank of the genre's artists.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780984681402
  • Publisher: Uncivilized Books
  • Publication date: 9/4/2012
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 696,538
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author


Gabrielle Bell’s work has been selected for the 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011 Houghton-Mifflin Best American Comics and the Yale Anthology of Graphic Fiction, and has been featured in McSweeney’s, The Believer, Bookforum and Vice magazines. “Cecil and Jordan In New York,” the title story of her most recent book, was adapted for the screen by Bell and director Michel Gondry in the film anthology Tokyo! She lives in Brooklyn.
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