Tag Archives: graphic novel

Review: Franz Kafka’s The Trial: A Graphic Novel, adapted by David Zane Mairowitz & Illustrated by Chantal Montellier

This was something a little different. I stopped at a local coffee shop, The Webster Groves Garden Cafe, and they had The Trial (Illustrated Classics): A Graphic Novel on the shelf. On a whim, I picked it up and gave it a read while I drank my latte. No real thought or planning went into the decision, it was just there and I read it rather than the proverbial cereal box.

Description from Goodreads:
“Someone must have been slandering Joseph K, because one morning, without having done anything wrong, he was suddenly arrested.”

The Trial is a graphic adaptation of Franz Kafka’s famous novel, illustrated by one of France’s leading graphic artists, Chantal Montellier. Montellier brilliantly captures both the menace and the humor of Kafka’s utterly unique masterwork. This darkly humorous tale follows Joseph K, who is arrested one morning for unexplained reasons and forced to struggle against an absurd judicial process. K finds himself thrown from one disorientating encounter to the next as he becomes increasingly desperate to prove his innocence in the face of unknown charges. In its stark portrayal of an authoritarian bureaucracy trampling over the lives of its estranged citizens, The Trial is as relevant today as ever.

I’ve come to the conclusion that graphic adaptations of books, even famous books, just shouldn’t be read unless you’ve read the original. They make great accompaniments, but never seem to stand on their own. This one is no different. It has a distinct style and you get a sense of the story, but it doesn’t really give you enough meat to truly understand the it. As something I picked up on a whim, while sitting in a coffee shop, it did the job of keeping me from being bored and I don’t regret reading it, but I can’t say it really impressed me much.

Review of Never Goodnight, by Coco Moodysson

Never GoodnightI ordered a tester box from Landfall Freight Co. It’s a subscription box service focusing on graphic novels and comics for girls. I have daughters, after all.  Never Goodnight, by Coco Moodysson was included.

Description from Goodreads:
The cult Swedish graphic novel that inspired the critically acclaimed Lukas Moodysson film ‘We Are the Best!’

Coco, Klara and Mathilda have known each other since primary school, where they met in Folk Dancing class. Now they’re almost teenagers, and their anarchist ideals and dreams of forming a world-beating punk band set them apart from the other girls at school. They can’t play any instruments, practice with pillows and pans, and keep getting told that punk is dead. But they’re not going to let any of those things get in their way…

Published in English for the first time, Never Goodnight is a hilarious and life-affirming memoir that will remind you that all you need in life is your best friends, a can of hairspray and three guitar chords.

I don’t really know what to say on this. Someone else called it ugly-cute and I think that’s an apt description. It is undeniably cute, as children so often are. But It is also ugly. The drawing style is corse, the characters lumpy and lopsided with a tendency to be shown on the toilet or in other cringe-worthy positions. But it’s about three female, punk tweens in 1982 Sweden. Nothing about them is frilly or girly or pretty and it’s not supposed to be. In fact, this is a lot of what the book is about. They get significant pushback, that they don’t quite understand themselves, for breaking out of that acceptable, pretty, gender norm.

For about half the book I didn’t like it. I thought it was choppy and I didn’t see a theme emerging. By the end however, I was brought around. It ended on a happy note and I was smiling along with it. I guess I’ll have to go find the movie on Netflix now.

What I’m drinking: Something called Coffee Free. It’s a custom blend from Traveling Tea, a local tea shop. (Yes, Coffee Free is a tea. I assume intended as a possible coffee replacement.) The last time I was in the proprietor gave me a sample, so I know almost nothing about it beyond the name and that instructions say brew it at 195° for 3 minutes. But it’s very chocolaty in taste and I got two decent brews out of it.