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Temperance

3.62  ·  Rating Details ·  255 Ratings  ·  52 Reviews
Do ideas of war and enemies hold a people together? Is a culture of conflict too seductive not to be irresistible? These are the questions Cathy Malkasian explores in her second graphic novel, Temperance.


Malkasian creates, as she did in the critically acclaimed Percy Gloom, a fully realized, multi-layered world, inhabited by vividly realized characters. After a brutal inj
...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published June 16th 2010 by Fantagraphics (first published January 1st 2010)
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Tim Lepczyk
Jan 02, 2012 Tim Lepczyk rated it liked it
Temperance by Cathy Malkasian is a quirky graphic novel that explores the relationship between the concepts of war and security, and freedom and trust. The narrator is a tree, which has been fashioned into a wooden leg, and then later into a doll/child. The narrator tells the story of Pa, who is this mythical concept that infects people's minds. The people, spurred by the lies of his foster daughter, live enclosed into a fortress they call BlessedBowl. It's a ship on a sea of fire, but really ...more
Mza
Feb 14, 2011 Mza rated it really liked it
Recommended to Mza by: Nobody
Shelves: 2010
There's a lot about this comix book that grosses me out. The way Malkasian draws human beings disgusts me. The way she overextends and mixes her metaphors makes me say, "Hmm hmm hmm hmm." There's something Canadian and New Age about all this. However, the book does achieve a psychosexual creepiness that's Lynchian in intensity, if you're into that sort of thing. Malkasian has perfect control of her pencil, and her drawings are v. easy on the eyes if you skip the humans and look only at buildings ...more
Kirsten
What a weird and oddly beautiful book! This is one of those odd, absorbing books that leaves one a little confused. It feels somewhat allegorical, but perhaps it's more fable-like? There's a certain dream logic that leaves the reader grasping a bit, trying to determine what exactly has happened.

The basic plot is that a powerful tyrant known only as Pa convinces a large number of people that The Enemy is coming for them. In fear for their lives, several thousand people have sealed themselves into
...more
Allie
May 04, 2011 Allie rated it it was ok
It started out intriguing, with the two girls hiding in the woods from a scary man who claims to be their father, then a whole group of people being walled into a stone ship. However, as it got further and further from a reality that started the book, it was hard to stay with it. I guess there was some sort of life metaphor with the ghostly girl and the "father" who was everywhere, destroying everything? I didn't really get it. The art was very nice, though. And I did like the idea of a town ins ...more
Kennethkuh
Oct 08, 2014 Kennethkuh rated it it was ok
Temperance, a great graphic novel written and drawn by Cathy Malkasian delivers a sense of weirdness and surrealism to the readers through her unique style of drawing and the bizarre storyline. I had to go through the story a couple times to understand what was going on in this nameless world filled with lies and rumors.
In the story, a cunning dictator called- Pa established his empire step by step with his “step-daughters”.  They went towns after towns to spread the rumor that their “enemy” is
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Nurul Lina Mohd Nor
Aug 10, 2014 Nurul Lina Mohd Nor rated it really liked it
Temperance has a very nice organic illustration. Simple yet hypnotizing. I'm amazed on how detail the diegesis is structured in Temperance. Malkasian has not just be specified in developing a very well structured organisms in her beautiful comic, concurrently the architecture of the whole story and its creation is made important to each other. The idea of 'illusion' as a tool for unity in Temperance might be cliché across our reading experiences, or films watching (I might say, in certain sense ...more
Allison
Jun 22, 2010 Allison rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels
This is one of my favorite books this year. This is a profound graphic novel with multiple layers of meaning, interesting characters, and beautiful illustrations.

Temperance does examine issues related to war, and what a culture of conflict does to its people, but I feel that those statements reduce a powerful and complex story with strong characters to just a few themes. So, here is a little bit about some of the characters you will meet here: Minerva, an unattractive princess who climbs a tall
...more
Ariel Metzmeier
Nov 16, 2014 Ariel Metzmeier rated it it was amazing
This is a powerful book. This book has immensely powerful words an imagery. The meaning behind this book can be interpreted so many ways. The art is raw and beautiful, it's breathtaking really...
To me it's a story about the struggles between believing or not believing in the stories of the past that you're told. Whether you believe in something that is not actually tangible. Believing in a higher power or believing that someone is there to protect you and has control and that makes you feel safe
...more
Caleb
Aug 07, 2011 Caleb rated it really liked it
While I understand many of the criticisms others have posted, Temperance takes on a mythic tone from the beginning. Though Malkasian frames the story as a confluence of characters, place, and machinations, it becomes clearly a poetic yarn, a tale not of persons but of people. She describes, both visually and narratively, archetypes to which we yearn and from which we cower. Once I began reading I did not have any interest in putting the story down. He artwork varies from fluid and enchanting to ...more
Yusuf
Oct 31, 2012 Yusuf rated it liked it
This Graphic Novel by Cathy Malkasian is a surreal exploration of war, conflict, and freedom. The novel is beautifully illustrated, the final image of the book is one that is especially powerful (won't say what it is for spoilers.) However the book hits some problems midway through. The flow becomes extremely difficult to follow, and though this may have been done on purpose by the author, it also detracted from my ability to understand anything. I was lost between what was real, and what was no ...more
Alger
Jun 17, 2013 Alger rated it liked it
The description of the book sounds much better than the execution.

This is a so-so story with epic amounts of filler drawing that does almost nothing to move the plot forward. The characters are flat as written, and in their actual drawing (caricatures instead of portraits). In fact, I found myself put off by the drawings in many ways, especially where several of the panels key to the plot are confused and very badly composed.
On the whole this book strikes me as an example of overreach, an idea
...more
Kate Moore
Jun 07, 2012 Kate Moore rated it liked it
Recommends it for: lovers of strange art, philosophers
I just finished Temperance, about five minutes ago, and I'm not totally sure what to say. It was certainly a beautiful book--drawn in a quirky, charming style--and for parts of the story I was utterly drawn in. Other parts, though, felt rushed, as though the artwork rather than the writing had been the only priority. The ending threw me off, as I didn't see it coming for at least a few dozen more pages. I guess I wish it had gone on a bit longer, and we had learned more about the resolution. How ...more
Michelle
Conflicted feelings on this one - is it an allegory or a fantasy/horror? It certainly raises important questions about what holds communities together, the existence of good vs evil, how people need to believe in something...but I'm not sure it answered its own questions adequately. Sure, you don't need to answer the Big Questions out there, but the ending tried to tie up some of those ideas, and I didn't buy its conclusions.

On the whole, unsettling in the good way of making you think and feel
...more
Tom
May 27, 2010 Tom rated it liked it
Malkasian has an energetic line and a sense of design that pulls your eye along the story. It is easy to read this book, like Percy Gloom, as an animation storyboard. In these technical regards, I think Malkasian does superlative work. Temperance, however, doesn't cohere for me as well as Percy Gloom did. Temperance is a more ambitious narrative than Percy Gloom, but it didn't hold up as well for me as the earlier book. And I feel churlish for being disappointed by a book that tried to outdo its ...more
Palimp
Mar 07, 2017 Palimp rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mantiene el ambiente poético y extraño de Percy Bloom, pero me ha gustado menos. El dibujo es más suelto pero con el sello personal de la autora.
Christopher
Jan 13, 2011 Christopher rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel
Disquieting and at times beautiful, it's hard to nail this down. It's about destruction and rebirth, and how lies can destroy or instill hope, how one can dominate and control out of love or hate. It's about revenge and redemption.

Pa is a terrifying and incredible character who is going to lure me back for a couple re-readings.
Sandy
Nov 06, 2016 Sandy rated it liked it
I don't think I understood this book. Peggy and Pa seemed to be concepts rather than people, and a tree/piece of wood is a character who narrates the story. So, you know, chew on that one for a while!

content notes for violence and abuse towards humans and animals; fat phobia/hatred; and someone taking away a person's prostethic leg without their knowledge or consent.

Whatsupchuck
Mar 04, 2013 Whatsupchuck rated it it was amazing
Very enjoyable. The soft pencil-like art was a refreshing change from the many bold/stark blacks in many comics/graphic novels. The characters were compelling and the story was good. It did get a little crazy at the end and I couldn't figure out exactly what was happening, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Moby F.
Mar 24, 2014 Moby F. rated it did not like it
Pelik. Sangat-sangat pelik dan confusing sampai kadang-kadang aku rasa jalan ceritanya merepek dan meleret. Barangkali aku susah nak faham maksud tersirat tapi entahlah-- the story itself, memang dari awal dah mula dengan konflik yang tak masuk akal. Aku, mungkin termasuk dalam golongan sesetengah pembaca yang wonder macam mana buku ini boleh published.
Maria
Feb 19, 2012 Maria rated it liked it
While I got lost in the middle of the story, I could see some interesting themes at the beginning. I enjoyed the beginning, but I feel like I will need to reread it and reflect more to better understand the end.
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
Feb 21, 2011 Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides marked it as decided-not-to-read
Recommended to Snail in Danger (Sid) by: http://www.npr.org/2010/12/17/1319056... (by Glen Weldon, via Laura Anne Gilman)
Shelves: comics
"Because the character is crazy and [usually] he can" are no longer enough to keep me reading books where there is lots of cruelty and violence. I know that not every book can be sunshine and rainbows but ... meh.
Alison
Jun 22, 2011 Alison rated it liked it
Really interesting little fable about community and what holds it together. Metaphorical, whimsical, stylistic, and generally well-made. Almost a children's story (the way any mythology is almost for children).
Robin
Jun 17, 2010 Robin rated it did not like it
I somewhat understand why this is getting good press, but it was _not_ a work I enjoyed. The artwork was fairly repetitive, and I couldn't bring myself to care about the plot or any of the characters. Frankly, I'm a little surprised Fantagraphics published this.
Jasmine Holloman
Jul 20, 2016 Jasmine Holloman rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this graphic novel. Even though I do not understand the ending (someone help?), the theme of white lies really stuck out to me. Sometimes lies are necessary to prevent causing pain to someone and oftentimes those lies hurt us more than ever would have imagined.
Jeffrey Wood
Jul 20, 2013 Jeffrey Wood rated it it was amazing
Temperance begins and ends strong and creates a mythos that spans the human experience with zen-like quality. Images from this novel will burn your memory for some time. I cannot recommend this work enough for students who possess a strange temperament.
Frank
Feb 02, 2011 Frank rated it did not like it
Shelves: graphic-novels
Like her award winning Percy Gloom, this one has haunting pictures and an "absurdist" plot, but unlike the other book, this one never engaged me. Maybe a one star rating is a little harsh, but yeah, "I didn't like it."
Beth
Oct 04, 2013 Beth rated it liked it
I thought this book was thought provoking. When I thought I figured out what the plot was about, I changed my mind. I read this book as the antagonist as a pedofile. I can also see the war versus security thoughts.
sweet pea
Apr 25, 2011 sweet pea rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-content
while i enjoyed Temperance, i wasn't quite as entranced by it as i was by Percy Gloom, despite it's wider scope. what i enjoy most about Malkasian is her ability to transport you to her created world, no matter how odd it may seem.
Mjhancock
Sep 21, 2010 Mjhancock rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Beautifully drawn, with an engaging plot. I'm not going to pretend to understand the full extent of the symbolism at work here, but it's a thoughtful allegory of the pursuits of war and peace.
Rizal
Jun 18, 2015 Rizal rated it liked it
Amazing art, and a very interesting plot.
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Cathy Malkasian's alternative comics career began at age four, with the covert distribution of sketches to an unreceptive neighbor (“Keep your brat’s pamphlets off my porch!”). Hot on the heels of this and various kindergarten triumphs, she became overbearingly enthused, teaching herself to sketch and paint, pursuing music lessons, play auditions and somehow ending up with a degree in musicology. ...more
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