Friday, 22 March 2013

Tournament of Books 2nd Quarter Final

Tournament of Books 2013 2nd Round Quarter Final


Building Stories by Chris Ware
v.
May We Be Forgiven by A.M. Homes
Judged by Caity Weaver who is a writer for Gawker and mental_floss. She lives in Brooklyn and reads on the train. 
Now we’re into the quarter finals we are seeing some very different books faced off against each other which makes judging them very hard, I can only imagine!
I do not envy Caity judging these two books, one is my favourite book this year and the other would be if I could ever get around to getting a copy! Purely cos it’s in a box!!  
Appearance-wise, I agree with the judge that you feel very clever reading May We Be Forgiven,  purely based on the cover!
As for Building Stories, she really loved the fact that you can throw a chapter or two in your bag as they are so small!
She felt that ‘the intriguing thing about Building Stories is that its plot isn’t—at least not on the surface.
The main character of the narrative (though there are many, including a bipolar bee and an old stone building) is an unremarkable young woman whose life we observe through Ware’s detailed (and often impractically sized) artifacts. We view all the rooms in her Chicago brownstone simultaneously, as we would a dollhouse. We view her from above, like a spider on her ceiling, and read her through the thoughts of other characters. We travel backwards into her past and ahead into her future. Her trajectory is not exceptional (marriage and baby), yet it is incredibly compelling. The drawings are intimate; the loneliness is poetic.’
As for ‘May We Be Forgiven, it’s the story of Harold Silver, a childless professor abruptly called upon to step into his younger brother’s shoes (figuratively as an ersatz father, literally when he sets up camp in his brother’s home and begins wearing his clothes, a detail that always struck me as odd) (personally I loved that part of his personality! But I’m not judging this quarter final!) after George Silver, a successful TV executive, is removed to various rehabs.
Caity felt that after all the excitement of the first half of the book, it was far too calm whereas I loved that part!
She thought ‘the characters and situations of Building Stories felt much more realistic, cartoon renderings though they were. Its lines provided a much smoother read—at least in a literary sense.’
While both novels had their shortcomings, the winner, then, is unquestionably Building Stories, for its ability to convey more humor, tragedy, and emotion in a comic about a bee getting trapped in a soda can than an entire novel was able to with storylines about murder, money, and suburban swingers nights.
I completely disagree though I have never read Building Stories so I should really shut up!

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