sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

October 19, 2008

readathon: hour 23
posted by soe 5:40 am

readathon logoAlmost 6:30 and still no streaks of morning light…

Carnet de Voyage, by Craig Thompson

From the jacket: “Craig Thompson — the award-winning creator of Blankets and Good-bye, Chunky Rice — traveled for three months through France, Barcelona, and the Alps, as well as Morocco, where he spent time researching his next graphic novel, Habibi. Spontaneous sketches and a travelogue diary document his adventures and quiet moments, creating a raw and intimate portrait of countries, culture and the wandering artist.”

My take: I’m tired, and while I hoped that a graphic novel would be an easier read so late in the game, I expect that a standard novel might have been a better idea. I’m a word-based person, so drawings take me longer to parse. And Thompson, while obviously a talented artist, often gave into self-indulgence in this piece, which just made me feel like he was being whiny (I’m not sure he’d argue with that characterization) when I was already feeling a bit whiny myself.

The book is sort of a mini travelogue, told with straight-up sketches (where he shows real ability to capture a scene or a person), comics, and more post-modern self-conversations. He’s blunt about the woes of travels, particularly in Morocco, where he seems troubled by the problems of being a first-world traveler in a second-world nation. He wants to see the country as locals see it, but doesn’t necessarily like what he sees — when he’s even able to do it. He’s inclined to moping about feeling lonely and unwell. Toward the end he complains a lot about how his arthritic hands hurt. (I’m not saying that I don’t believe that he’s exaggerating for sympathy; I believe he probably is in excruciating pain. It’s just not what I was hoping to read about at 5 in the morning…)

This is my fear about my upcoming trip: that I will not be able to get past my own issues/lack of understanding/overwhelming need to step back and refuel in order to appreciate France for what it is and what it offers. This book just played into every paranoia…

As I said, I probably just wasn’t in the right mood for this book.

Pages: 224

Other pertinent Readathon info:

Number of books read since you started: 3+
Running total of pages read since you started: 672+
Running total of time spent reading since you started: 19ish hours

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