- Reading level: 16+ years
- Hardcover: 204 pages
- Publisher: Drawn and Quarterly; 1st Edition edition (22 May 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781770463165
- ISBN-13: 978-1770463165
- ASIN: 177046316X
- Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 2.1 x 25 cm
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
#4,109 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #186 in Comics
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Sabrina Hardcover – Import, 22 May 2018
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"Nick Drnaso's Sabrina is the best book―in any medium―I have read about our current moment. It is a masterpiece, beautifully written and drawn, possessing all the political power of polemic and yet simultaneously all the delicacy of truly great art. It scared me. I loved it."―Zadie Smith
"Sabrina is startling. Drnaso's formal ingenuity and confidence is matched by the acuity and depth of the story's awareness of who and where we are right now."―Jonathan Lethem
"Nick Drnaso is one of the most ambitious, singular cartoonists to emerge in recent years, and his dedication to novelistic fiction is an inspiration. Incisive, chilling, and completely unpredictable, Sabrina demonstrates the inexplicable power of comics at their best."―Adrian Tomine
“[Sabrina] is a Midwestern gothic tale for our times… A shattering work of art.”―The New York Times 100 Notable Books of the Year
“Sabrina is not only a step forward for comic strip literary fiction, but a book that shows, as well as tells, the slippery horrors of our post-truth reality.”―The Guardian Best Books of 2018
“It's a chilling distillation of the way the world feels nowadays.”―NPR’s Best Books of 2018
"Drnaso’s simple, rigid drawings capture the bleak blankness of much contemporary life, anomie hovering over almost every interaction, both real and virtual... [Sabrina] leaves the audience holding its breath."―Kathleen Rooney, The Chicago Tribune
About the Author
Nick Drnaso was born in 1989 in Palos Hills, Illinois. His debut graphic novel, Beverly, received the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Best Graphic Novel. He has contributed to several comics anthologies, self-published a handful of comics, been nominated for three Ignatz Awards, and coedited the second and third issues of Linework, Columbia College’s annual comic anthology. Drnaso lives in Chicago, where he works as a cartoonist and illustrator.
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I think it's a minimalist read. Dranso shows the reader how the world around us can create rumours and make them come true to the point that we can't tell reality from invention.
Sabrina is literally about Sabrina missing and it hits hard where and when it must. Drnaso, at the same time doesn’t let Sabrina go. She is there, hanging around in the sense of being a presence, as the lives of other characters are in a limbo, emerging from or facing their own troubles. There is something about Drnaso’s storytelling that is not only bleak and dark, but somehow enchanting. You want to remain stuck in this world and not get out. To me, that was highly fascinating.
Sabrina though is about the titular character, to my mind, it is a lot more about the characters on the fringe. Where do they go from here and what happens to them were the questions I found myself asking time and again, long after the book was done with. There is something so real about the book that it shakes you to the core – I think most of it has got to do with the times we live in – separate from each other, connected virtually and not knowing what is going on in others’ lives.
Sabrina deals with so much more – mass shootings, notoriety, depression, marriage, privacy – it is a melting pot of issues – that are so relevant and need to be told. Most readers and critics were skeptical of a graphic novel being on the Booker longlist, but think it is so worth it in every way. Hooting for this one!
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Here's a good description (and part plug) of the book, stolen from themanbookerprize.com:
Where is Sabrina?
The answer is hidden on a videotape, a tape which is en route to several news outlets, and about to go viral.
Sabrina is the story of what happens when an intimate, ‘everyday’ tragedy collides with the appetites of the 24-hour news cycle; when somebody’s lived trauma becomes another person’s gossip; when it becomes fodder for social media, fake news, conspiracy theorists, maniacs, the bored.
What's brilliant about Sabrina and probably other graphic novels is that it does things that can't be done on film or in prose. (If you're watching a movie and it shows a lot of text on a computer screen, you're not going to have good things to say about that movie.) Speaking of the text on computer screens, the one false note in Sabrina is that the author has conspiracy buff nut jobs (a redundancy) writing perfect English in their posts, with proper capitalization and punctuation. Not that I look at that sort of thing much, but from what I've seen of such writing (Trump's tweets, e.g.) I can tell you this: they don't write that well.
I guess the book is in high demand and that the publishers didn't anticipate that because it took weeks to get it delivered. It was expensive, too, and that's a qualm I had with it. I understand that printing an entire book in color cost more than just black text on paper, but Sabrina is not printed with rich inks on glossy paper, nor should it be—being slick in any way would detract from its message. Still, the $27 price point was high for a book that you're going to finish in under two hours. I can't recommend buying it at that price unless you're going to share it with others.
The art, I hope, is not representative. It's ugly, it adds little, all the characters look the same. Surely there's a more innovative way to represent alienation than a lonely Hardee's on the side of the road. If that's somehow the point, the point is trite. We get it.
The plot also doubtlessly caught the committee's eye. Chicagoland's five hundred seventy-eighth homicide of the year reunites two former pals, and they eat burgers and drink microbrews together, but alone, because that's the kind of place America is nowadays. I was shocked to find diners empty and video game lobbies full.
Looming large over the plot is Alex Jones, one of the USA's most respected public intellectuals. One hardly needs explain how Jones has drawn acclaim far and wide for his insights on national affairs. To this point, few have been willing to stand up to Jones's movement, but Drnaso and the Booker committee make a powerful case that society may not benefit if he remains unchecked. This brave, necessary act of punching up against people who listen to Infowars leads me to round up to two stars.
Opposite that, my disppointment. It's hard to express my take on this book without spoiling the story for other readers. I'll say that I found the arc of the story and especially the resolution of the mystery very unsatisfying.