Fantagraphics, June 2009
216 pages, hardcover
Tom Spurgeon’s recent review of this book centered on whether or not it was (apologies to Elaine Benes) spongeworthy. Of all the Jason books released by Fantagraphics, this short story collection is the first one to get the hardcover treatment, obviously due to the titular story’s serialization in The New York Times–but does it really deserve the extra frou-frou and increased price point? Does the format flatter the work? With all due respect to the Spurge, shit yeah. And I say that as someone who casually dislikes hardcovers as a rule. But you could do much, much, much, much, much, much worse than to spend 25 bucks and an inch on your bookshelf on yet agoddamnnother collection of murderously bleak and astonishingly well-executed high-concept existentialism, drawn with an unimpeachable clean line and colored like unto a thing of beauty. Time and time again during these five stories I was almost physically impacted by Jason’s skill as a storyteller: A character spits a mouthful of something spoilery into a sink in “Emily Says Hello,” relationships are established and upended with the tiniest possible handful of panels in “Low Moon,” petty and heinous crimes are paralleled Crimes & Misdemeanors-style with chilling results in “&,” another mouthful of something spoilery is forcibly ejected in “Proto Film Noir,” a strange plant fires spores into the sky indifferent to the plight of an observer in “You Are Here”…his skill and his bravado left me shaking my head with amusement and/or amazement time and time again. He’s one of the best, as is this book.
UPDATE: Spurge corrects my interpretation of his review in the comments.