12.25.2009

My 13 Favorite Things of 2009 (Part 11 of 17)

Asterios Polyp (Pantheon): Brian Michael Bendis used to like to talk about “breaking the internet in half” with fan reaction to some of this storytelling choices, but if there was one single book that unified the entire interwebs, that every fractured corner of the blogosphere came close to agreeing on this year, it was the seemingly unanimous praise and admiration lavished upon David Mazzucchelli’s Asterios Polyp. It’ll probably go down as a, if not the, book of the year when everyone’s lists are finally submitted and the larger meta-lists are tabulated. Every small time blogger, big time news writer, and even the mainstream media got in on this action. There’s not much more for me to say about Asterios Polyp other than I really enjoyed it, it comes bearing lessons in cold craft, but also contains a warm emotional core, that it rewards readers with repeated readings, and that there’s a reason everyone agrees, it truly deserves the praise it’s garnered to date. It’s layered and nuanced, and I called it back in August, saying that it’d be a strong contender once the dust settled on 2009 and everyone began to check in with their “best of” lists. It’s interesting once something has built momentum based on positive feedback; do future reviewers like it because they’re supposed to or because they truly do? The only way to be certain is to read it if you haven’t and make your own assessment, draw your own conclusion. While I always encourage this type of independent thinking, I’d be surprised to hear why anyone read it and didn’t appreciate the craft on display or have some sliver of the narrative resonate emotionally with their own life.

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