Dreams and Everyday Life by Aviv Ratzin

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Dreams and Everyday Life by Aviv Ratzin

Buy Dreams and Everyday Life by Aviv Ratzin at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Graphic Novels
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: A dreamscape of a graphic novel, with worlds left behind or destroyed - and equally, ruts sadly stuck in.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 128 Date: April 2011
Publisher: Tabella
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0955808876

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Well, thank you, Aviv Ratzin - you've provided me with the one book I'm least capable of summarising for a review. I can't begin to pithily precis the plot, or describe the happenings in any quick, snappy way. To give the gist of the surreal, scattershot whimsicality cannot do the contents justice in any way.

There is a sort of theme of escape here, spread over three inter-connected chunks. The introductory pages are one- or two-page vignettes of the creator suffering writer's block, or a pretentious restaurant, or just housework, where he sometimes can leave the circus-styled rat-race for swimming deep in other, mental oceans, or out in space. These gradually take hold, and form two individual pieces - one a generally wordless comedy of violence starring a bullying thug not enjoying life in a happy comic world, and another of people living in ever-connected, virtual reality suits made of gloppy gel versions of that armour David Lynch had in his Dune film.

But recurring characters, including an amusing hitch-hiker, suggest the humdrum is never too easy to leave.

I can't say I liked this book until the full picture was formed for me by reading to the end. Comics fans will have seen the episodic format begun with far too regularly - perhaps there's a nod to this in having a cameo from a chap looking suspiciously like Harvey Pekar. The footnotes, if you will, of matchstick men playing out gags, were only intrusive. And while I liked the approach of having a bolder black ink for foreground and a lighter grey line for background, the style is still very singular.

It's a very rough and ready design, beyond straightforward framing and guttering, with a seemingly quick approach that still manages to give strong character to the people in these pages. Superimposed images, arrows for movement and more, all pepper the pictures with non-realistic elements. And there's never any reason given for Aviv drawing himself as a tall, fat man in an all-white suit, faceless and with a white stovepipe hat.

But like I say, you do need to stick to the last here. It seems too patchy, too individual, for possibly too long, but bear with it, and when the oddball look feeds into the surreal happenings and justify the unique logic behind both the style and the storytelling, the circle is closed, and this does prove to be a successful book.

It's not as funny a one as it assumes, and it's not for everyone, but this publisher, Tabella, have never been providers of excessively populist graphic books, just personal, uniquely spirited works of art, such as this, and I must thank them for my review copy.

I also enjoyed their offering Thomas Wogan is Dead by David Hughes.

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Buy Dreams and Everyday Life by Aviv Ratzin at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Dreams and Everyday Life by Aviv Ratzin at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Dreams and Everyday Life by Aviv Ratzin at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Dreams and Everyday Life by Aviv Ratzin at Amazon.com.


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