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Asterios Polyp

4.17 of 5 stars 4.17  ·  rating details  ·  15,568 ratings  ·  1,075 reviews
Meet Asterios Polyp: middle-aged, meagerly successful architect and teacher, aesthete and womanizer, whose life is wholly upended when his New York City apartment goes up in flames. In a tenacious daze, he leaves the city and relocates to a small town in the American heartland. But what is this “escape” really about?

As the story unfolds, moving between the present and the
Hardcover, 344 pages
Published July 2011 by Oog & Blik/De Bezige Bij (first published 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Seth Hahne
Jul 30, 2009 Seth Hahne rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Seth by: the hive-mind
Reading Asterios Polyp is a daunting experience. Or maybe not so much the reading, which can be accomplished easily enough, but the being able to speak sensibly about it afterward. I feel kind of like how I did after finishing 2666 , only not quite so out of my depth. Like Bolaño, Mazzucchelli's work here displays a breadth and depth that overtly requires multiple readings in order find ground solid enough to speak with any authority about the book.

But since I've only read the book once, you'l
Really beautiful, smart and heart-touching story of an architecture professor who, when he is 50, learns better.

It ought to be a five star review, but I kept feeling like the moment the whole thing came together it would be one of the best graphic novels anyone had ever done and one of the finest stories ever told... and it reached the end and left me feeling that had it all come together - perhaps had it been much longer - it would have been amazing, and as it was it was simply astonishingly g
book #9 for Jugs & Capes!

Also: this is my second review for CCLaP, and my first in a year-long series reviewing graphic novels. W00t!


This is the first in an essay series I'll be doing for CCLaP called "Jugs & Capes," where I look at graphic novels from a girl's point of view. I'm not going to say a "feminist" point of view, because I think that's a complicated word, one which any thinking woman has a complicated relationship with. And as I haven't got any kind of background in gender
MJ Nicholls
The first proper graphic novel I’ve read! This was such a beautiful and heartbreaking piece of work, it’ll be nigh on impossible to top it. It is rich in glorious meditation, comedy, irony and romance, weaving deep questions of binary opposites, architectural philosophy, life-the universe-and-everything around a dissolving relationship story. I don’t have the vocab or knowledge to comment on the artwork’s nuances, but the artist subtly conveys shifting moods, attitudes, histories, metaphors and ...more
Nov 05, 2009 Jimmy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who think graphic novels are stupid; people who didn't like "Watchmen"
Recommended to Jimmy by: allen spetnagel
I might have to read this one again to catch all the subtleties of the story. What's amazing about this graphic novel is that it is jam-packed with ideas, but most of the ideas are embedded in the art itself, and not in the words (some of it is in words, but it's like a riff that plays along with the visuals). At the same time, all these ideas do not in any way make it a gooey-dense landscape to slodge through. The book is such a pleasure to read, filled with so many wide open panels, so much wh ...more
I so wish more graphic novelists did what Mazzucchelli did in this one. Rather than merely have the graphic element supplement the story, Asterios Polyp makes graphics a part of the theme, using it to highlight conflicts and characterize its protagonists.

Asterios Polyp is a critically respected and self-regarding "theoretical architect," meaning that he has created some prize-winning designs and plans--none of which has ever been built. The narrative structure is framed by the new more humble li
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Wow. Just finished in one reading session this magical work of art. Together with "Daytripper", this is my all time favorite graphic novel. I don't have much to say about it, as I don't think I have rationalized it much yet: visually, it's extremely creative and exciting. Rich with inventions and ideas.

The story, well, it reminded me of a Chinese saying: "Two thirds of what we see is behind our eyes", and a lot of this novel is about that crucial aspect of human existence.

I see this as a love
"Wah," I said aloud when finishing this. "God. Lovely. Really great," I also said. Unputdownably beautiful. A blatantly philosophical, simple love story. Vivid characters. Funny. Touching: in fact, it successfully revealed the presence of my heartstrings -- sentimental loon I am not, but I definitely felt something pull in the vicinity of my chest region toward the end. Sort of like Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth meets a way more formally sophisticated The Elegance of the Hedgehog, sp ...more
I finished this over a week ago and for some reason haven't felt like writing a review on it. Maybe cause it's a little hard to describe without making it sound common. One reviewer described this best as a 40-something year old man's coming of age story. I would have to agree that that is what Asterio's story is about. Asterios must take a deep look at what dissolved his marriage. Most people would probably find him to be a jerk, but I really liked Asterios. He's just a man with many flaws but ...more
Marc Kozak
I've noticed that ever since I became single earlier this year, I can't stop talking about myself.

This is pretty unusual. I am a reasonably quiet person unless I'm around people I have known for a while, and usually listen more than speak. However, lately I've noticed myself sharing personal details in situations where it isn't warranted. Nothing super sexy or anything (you pervs), but details that could have easily been left out of the conversation. Or to be clearer - I've been entering persona
'Asterios Polyp' es un cómic complejo, inteligente, riquísimo, satisfactorio a múltiples niveles, que habla de temas como filosofía, arquitectura, ficción, arte, etc. La historia no es nada nuevo, es la de un hombre que pasa por una crisis y acaba perdiéndolo todo, porque sólo perdiéndolo todo se dará cuenta de qué es lo realmente importante, y sólo así podrá cambiar. Asterios Polyp es un arquitecto reputado de 50 años, aunque ninguno de sus diseños ha sido nunca ejecutado, porque su fama viene ...more
Bob Fingerman
David Mazzucchelli’s Asterios Polyp is quite a thing. A book that uses formalism in a way that is pleasing to the eye, buoyed by a story and characters pleasing to the mind (though I guess the art pleases both). Mazzucchelli has populated this book with a varied cast: narcissistic (and often insufferable) egomaniacs; a neglected beauty taken mostly for granted; a plain, hard-workin’ mechanic who drops many a Norm Crosbyesque malopropism and many more.

The art is an impressive mélange of approach
This is hovering between a 4 and a 5 for me right now.

Wow - really a sophisticated book. And can I just say that its so great to read a critiquely lauded graphic novel that is NOT a memoir. This was large in scope, nuanced in detail, and I think I need to read it again to grasp it all.

The art was unexpected, with a mix of styles that really worked well together. Totally recommended to all my comic and literary fiction reading friends alike.
Feb 18, 2012 Anila rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Anila by: Jared and Steve Like Comics
This is a really excellent demonstration of the kind of depth in storytelling that a graphic novel format is capable of. I feel like graphic novels, as a form, are still kind of developing and becoming more and more accepted; their potential is still largely unexplored. Asterios Polyp has a really brilliant use of color and art style which greatly enhances the story that's being told. Each character is drawn a different way, with different dominant colors, different fonts for their speech, and a ...more
I know firsthand how obnoxious know-it-alls can be because I live with one (actually one & 1/2 at this point, as my son is currently in training) & I've certainly been one myself on many occasions. “Paper” architect Asterios Polyp is also a know-it-all. There’s a clear difference between just knowing something & knowing something to the exclusion of any other opinion & Asterios is firmly in the latter category. He doesn't really listen to his wife Hana because he assumes he's alw ...more
Artist/writer David Mazzucchelli has had one of the more twisted career paths of any artist I know. He began in conventional comics, becoming well-known illustrating Frank Miller's Daredevil, then he disappeared for awhile, emerging with an entirely new style. His new, fluid line was perfect for Miller's DC hit, Batman: Year One. Then Mazzucchelli dropped off the radar again. This time, he showed up illustrating a graphic novelization of Paul Auster's City of Glass: The Graphic Novel , a metaph ...more
Allow me to steal from Pete Holmes and say what would I have done if this book came out in the 90s, before we had "Really?!?"? When I got to the end, without that comfortable exclamation of frustrated disbelief, I would have had to raise my eyebrow so high that it might have flown off my head.

Mostly Asterios Polyp is an amazing book, fusing different artistic styles that, no matter how showy, always advance the narrative, and has a plot that, while not as bold as something like Jimmy Corrigan, i
This is the best graphic novel I've read in a long time. From the beginning scene-setting of Asterios' apartment with his Brewer chairs and whatnot ... man, I can't list all the things I loved about this book without basically just describing everything about it. The intertwined narrative threads with the slow reveal of the flashbacks; the beautiful characterisations (Hana's face shape under her hair, her outrageously large eyes and roundness totally expressing the character), all the clever-clo ...more
I can now say that I've read Asterios Polyp, but I can't say that I've finished Asterios Polyp. This is the kind of book that has layers inside layers - like an onion inside of... a turducken. A turduckenion, if you will. I feel like you can't get a truly complete sense of the intricacies here without a second, third, fourth reading. Even skimming through after reading the final page, I picked up so much information, so much context that I initially missed.

I should say that for a large part of t
After all the buildup and critical praise heaped on this book, my expectations were quite high. So it was something of a disappointment not to love this book. That said, I did read it rather quickly. And to its credit, the book presents an atypical protagonist for the graphic novel format. That is, a character who is not mired in outright depressing circumstances from dawn til dusk and who is articulate and socially functional. So the book is novel in this regard, or at least breaks off into a n ...more
John Kopsidas
A great read. The characters come to life through smaller details that are brilliantly incorporated in this graphic novel : the font used for their words, the coloring of their world, the strict, rigid, clean blueprint-like lines lines for 2D asterios vs the curvy, warmer, fuzzy pink lines for 3D Hanna.

Color, lines, white space, detail or absence of it, frame size, frame clashing and so on are all tools in the hands of Mazzucchelli brilliantly used to immerse us in this world, relate with the ch
No drama, baby
Im Klappentext steht: "an engrossing story". Vielleicht habe ich zu große Ansprüche an Literatur?

Ähnlich wie es mir mit Harvey Pekars öden, weinerlichen Introspektionen ging, geht es mir auch hier: Der Protagonist ist ein arroganter Snob, die Nebenpersonen völlig gewöhnlich. Das ist zu nah am echten, langweiligen Alltagsleben eines normalen Menschen, als dass es irgendwelche emotionalen Funken zünden könnte. Ein bisschen mehr Drama, baby! So berührt mich das Buch nicht, es lässt mi
'Asterios Polyp' did more than I usually expect of a graphic novel. It's engaging, intelligent, but most of all just a very well-balanced and well-crafted effort by David Mazzucchelli (can a man have more double consonants in his name?). It should go without saying that it's a rather beautiful artefact - I quite enjoyed Mazzucchelli's drawings, the functional use of colour and the stylistic variation throughout the book. What sets 'Asterios Polyp' apart though, is the intricacy of the story and ...more
I enjoy non-superhero graphic novels, and while this is a good one, it won't be a repeat read for me like Ghost World is. The entire Asterios Polyp was like one big New Yorker cartoon for me, where I think I got what David Mazzucchelli was getting at most of the time, but was never 100% sure. But it made me laugh out loud, and it made me think. What I ended up doing was just letting the characters and story wash over me and not try to think too hard about it.

Asterios Polyp is about a "paper arc
Sandys Nunes
Uma das estórias mais incríveis que já li em uma graphic novel. Fez-me refletir sobre as coisas que damos valor na vida.

A narrativa é incrível, intercalando presente e passado a cada capítulo, até culminar em um tempo só. Acho que daria um ótimo roteiro para um filme!
NOTE: The review below has been published (in German) in the Swiss comics journal STRAPAZIN.

Form Follows Function: David Mazzuchelli’s ASTERIOS POLYP
by Mark David Nevins, September 2010

David Mazzuchelli’s long-awaited graphic novel--coming almost a decade and a half after his and Paul Karasik’s adaptation of CITY OF GLASS--was published more than a year ago, so this review is coming a little late to the game. But given all the critical buzz about ASTERIOS POLYP, which is indeed some sort of comi
Darrell Reimer
The “novel of ideas” is highly feted by the smarty-pants set, but I’ve usually had trouble finishing one. Those few that I’ve read to completion fall considerably short of my “desert island” list. Paul Auster, whose Moon Palace is near the top of this list, failed to impress me with his New York Trilogy — City Of Glass was, I thought, especially tedious and self-indulgent. Nevertheless, since I was still young enough to pursue the complete works of a beloved author, I picked up David Mazzucchell ...more
David Mazzucchelli is hella smart. He was filled Asterios Polyp with a ton of brain matter on all topics ranging from architecture, art, literature, dance, music, and the meaning of life. All these topics are brought to you in a very intelligent way. Either David Mazzucchelli is a genius or very well researched.

Asterios Polyp lost his twin brother at birth. Some of the book is told from the perspective of that brother. Although this novel is filled with intelligence at its core is man’s struggle
The basic storyline - blowhard intellectual screws up his life, then learns lessons and seeks redemption after spending time around a few quirky small town folk - sounds terrible, but the book is not. Far from it, in fact.

Mazzucchelli (yes, the same dude who drew Batman back in the day. Look at how respectable he's become!) is an incredible visual artist, and obviously spent a lot of time making every detail perfect. Nothing about the book seems arbitrary. The color palette, the page layouts, t
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David Mazzucchelli has been making comics his whole life. Known chiefly for his collaborations - with Frank Miller on seminal Batman and Daredevil stories, and with Paul Karasik on an adaptation of Paul Auster's novel, City of Glass - he began publishing his own stories in 1991 in his anthology magazine, Rubber Blanket. Since then his short comics have been published in books and magazines around ...more
More about David Mazzucchelli...
Daredevil: Born Again: Born Again Premiere City of Glass Big Man Rubber Blanket #2 Discovering America : 3 Geschichten

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“To live (as I understand it) is to exist within a conception of time.
But to remember is to vacate the very notion of time.
Every memory, no matter how remote its subject, takes place 'Now,' at the moment it's called to the mind.
The more something is recalled, the more the brain has a chance to refine the original experience.
Because every memory is a re-creation, not a playback.”
“The way the function dictates the form... elegant lines... nothing extraneous... this shoe perfectly expresses the essence of shoeness.” 8 likes
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