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On to the Next Dream

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Paul Madonna's popular comic, "All Over Coffee" had been running for twelve years in the San Francisco Chronicle when he was evicted from his longtime home and studio in the Mission District, ground-zero in the “tech wars” transforming the city. Suddenly finding himself yet another victim of San Francisco’s overheated boomtown housing market, with its soaring prices and rampant evictions, Madonna decided to use his comic as a cathartic public platform to explore the experience, and to capture the complex, highly charged atmosphere of a city—and a life—being forced through a painful transition. In a series of drawings and stories, Madonna evokes the sense of vertigo induced by being forced from his home, and the roil of emotions that ensue as he enters into the city’s brutal competition for a place to live. The line between reality and surreality begins to blur almost immediately, in real life and in his comic. Absurd, maddening, and all-too-poignant, these drawings and stories capture the spirit of not just San Francisco, but a cultural epidemic that has now spread to cities around the world. "For years I've been intrigued and charmed by Paul Madonna’s careful and thoughtful drawings of overlooked nooks and by-ways of San Francisco. In his new book he now combines them with manic, delirious, and increasingly paranoid writings as he struggles with the all-consuming City dilemma of gentrification; of who came first, who gets to stay, which wave of usurpers is more 'real' and deserving than the next, and finally, what happens when someone decides it’s your turn to go. Beautiful and engaging." —Sandow Birk, visual artist "Madonna has created a kind of San Francisco Realism, details so absurd, cruel, and beautiful that they can only come from our infuriating home. If Charlie Kaufman squatted in an illegal sublet in Armistead Maupin's mind, this would be the lovely tenant."—Joshua Mohr, author of All This Life "Paul Madonna's On to the Next Dream is bleak, terrifying, hilarious and lovely."—MariNaomi, author and illustrator of Turning Japanese "Simply delightful. I really don't like much out there, I really don't, but On to the Next Dream I couldn't put down. It was sharp, clever, honest, and maybe the funniest book on eviction ever written."— New Yorker cartoonist and New York Times bestselling author, Bob Eckstein, Footnotes from the World's Greatest Bookstores "Progress—that is, gentrification—marches on in San Francisco, for better and for worse, in this fantastical narrative from the creator of All Over Coffee. What separates On to the Next Dream from other stories of gentrification is the strange sense of unreality (oddly reminiscent of Norton Juster’s The Phantom Tollbooth, of all things) that accompanies artist/writer Paul Madonna’s fictionalized struggle to survive in a rapidly changing San Francisco."—Deborah Krieger, Popmatters "Much has been written about the 'tech wars' that have made living in San Francisco an impossible dream for old-timers and young workers. For writer and graphic artist Paul Madonna, the issue became personal when he found himself evicted from his Mission District home. Combining narrative and his distinctive graphics, On to the Next Dream depicts Madonna’s struggle to find new digs."—Georgia Rowe, San Jose Mercury News "Paul Madonna is the author of the long running San Francisco Chronicle series, All Over Coffee. His new book, On to the Next Dream, offers an absurdist take on his eviction from his Mission District home of ten years. Absurdist, but all too real. . . . Madonna should win a unanimous vote for best book opening of 2017.”—Randy Shaw, BeyondChron "Madonna has a new book that describes a kind of living nightmare that began when he received an eviction notice from his landlord that sent him into shock. In clean, crisp words and stark images, On to the Next Dream describes an emotional journey that took Madonna from anger and desperation to shame, sadness and acceptance.” —Jonah Raskin, San Francisco Chronicle "Artist and writer’s new book offers bizarre, healing literary journey.”—Laura Wenus, Mission Local Praise for Everything is its own reward by Paul "The book is fantastic. Of time and tenderness. Beautiful drawings. Beautiful text. Ethereal and serious at once. The book is its own reward."—Maira Kalman, illustrator "Mesmerizing . . . When his international images are paired with his sparse, poetic words—sometimes thought-provoking one-liners such as 'You don't get anywhere without searching' and sometimes long, meandering sections of dialogue and story—the effect is haunting." —Oprah.com "The book collects . . . short bursts of flash fiction both absurdist and time-traveling, all wrapped up in Madonna’s singular melancholic way of capturing San Francisco."—Leilani Clark, KQED Arts
Paul Madonna is a San Francisco-based artist and writer. He is the creator of the comic series “All Over Coffee” and the author of two books, All Over Coffee and Everything is its own reward . His drawings and stories have appeared in numerous books and journals as well as galleries and museums, including the San Francisco Contemporary Jewish Museum and the Oakland Museum of California.

96 pages, Hardcover

Published April 4, 2017

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About the author

Paul Madonna

16 books119 followers
Paul Madonna is an award-winning artist and author whose unique blend of drawing and storytelling has been heralded as an “all new art form.” He is the creator of the series All Over Coffee, which ran in the San Francisco Chronicle for twelve years, and the author of seven books,  All Over Coffee Everything is its own reward (winner of the 2011 NCBA Award for best book),  On to the Next Dream , You Know Exactly , and the Emit Hopper Mystery Series, Close Enough for the Angels , Come to Light , and The Commissions . Paul also collaborated with award-winning author Gary Kamiya on the best-selling book Spirits of San Francisco .

Paul's drawings and stories have appeared internationally in numerous publications such as the Believer and zyzzyva, as well as in galleries and museums, including the Oakland Museum of California, the San Francisco Contemporary Jewish Museum, The San Francisco International airport, and the William Blake Association in France. Paul was a founding editor for therumpus.net, has taught drawing at the University of San Francisco, and frequently lectures on creative practice. He holds a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University and was the first (ever!) Art Intern at MAD magazine.

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5 stars
34 (29%)
4 stars
52 (45%)
3 stars
24 (20%)
2 stars
4 (3%)
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1 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 22 of 22 reviews
Profile Image for Marysya Rudska.
196 reviews71 followers
November 14, 2018
Страшенно люблю роботи Пола Мадонни і колекціоную його книжки. Ця книжка вийшла коротка й емоційна. Автора виселили з його квартири в Сан Франциско і він про це написав і намалював. У даному випадку дуже добре видно, як автор володіє візуальною образною мовою значно витонченіше ніж вербальною. Його ілюстрації на тему виселення, втрати дому значно глибші і проникливіші ніж текст. Текст досить плаский і незрілий, хоч з твердженнями важко не погодитись.
Загалом, хочеться як в попередніх книжках - більше ілюстрацій, менше букв!
Profile Image for Patrick.
82 reviews7 followers
December 17, 2019
Not long after I moved to San Francisco, I was at a coffeeshop in the Mission, and lying on the counter near where I sat down was a copy of Madonna's All Over Coffee. Because I wasn't a regular reader of the San Francisco Chronicle, in which ran a series of his drawings and writings (from which the book had taken its name), I had never heard of him. But I loved the book, and not long afterward bought a copy (which I ended up giving to friends from the Netherlands who had stayed with me about six years ago).

I subsequently bought his second book, Everything Is Its Own Reward, and it was while reading that recently that I checked to see if he had a new one. Indeed, this was published two years ago.

On To The Next Dream is a little different from the first two volumes. First, it's considerably smaller in size and in content (77 pages) when compared to the first two volumes. It's also mostly writing with a handful of drawings. Which, I guess, is OK, but I really, really, really like his art, so I was a tad disappointed.

The story, if you want to call it that, is a series of vignettes that involve his having been evicted from his apartment after twenty-plus years. The vignettes are dreams, really, in which he goes from one scene to another as he searches for another place to live in this increasingly expensive city. The absurd conditions of the marketplace are met with his equally absurd scenarios. (One person draws an outline around Madonna's dream-self and tells him of the obscene amount he charges for him to stand on that spot per hour.)

It is, of course, depressing to live here and to see those who aren't paid all that well being pushed out by the influx of new wealth. But while Madonna's not happy with the way things are going here, his bitterness is rather restrained. His dream-story, while depressing on its face, doesn't turn into an ugly diatribe about the techies that have created this sea change in the city. It ends, in fact, on a bit of a hopeful note, somewhat akin to an amicable divorce.
Profile Image for Cynthia Shannon .
178 reviews680 followers
March 28, 2017
This book is much more of a 'story story' than Paul Madonna's previous books, and it's the story inspired by his own eviction from his apartment of 12 years in San Francisco. It hits on some important points regarding what's happening in the city we live in today, and right before the protagonist starts to get too annoying he has this realization about how the city has always been changing. I absolutely love Paul's work (we have two of his paintings hanging at home) and I knew about his and his wife's eviction from them telling us about it, so of course I selfishly wanted more. Paul has the ability to really capture the things that make this city so amazing and odd, and he could have explored that a bit more with this book.
Profile Image for Kim.
430 reviews
December 5, 2017
I love Paul Madonna's artwork, I didn't realize that this would be mostly prose and not so many drawings, so it was a pleasant surprise that the story was really interesting and well-written. And definitely a good message about weathering transitions, one it turns out I needed to hear.
Profile Image for Beth Adams.
33 reviews
June 1, 2017
I didn't like the writing or the plot, (constant dream sequences) but the drawings were beautiful.
Profile Image for Pamela.
893 reviews19 followers
May 3, 2017
This is very short book developed out of Paul Madonna's personal experience of being evicted out of his home in San Francisco. Yes, a renter, but at the same place for about ten years. Seemed unfair, especially since the landlord was likely breaking tenant rights law.

The surreal experiences talked about in the book reflects what Paul felt going through this process. His drawings were good, but sometimes didn't seem to me to match what was going on in the story.

As I said, a very short work, and most the time while reading this I felt like the book was written for just people of San Francisco. I felt like such an outsider. Sometimes the specific reflects to the larger, but in this case I didn't get that sense at all. I'm no stranger to San Francisco, although I do not now, nor in the past, lived in the city. I have been a frequent visitor for the past, (wow) thirty years now (i'm getting old!). My frequent visits have caused me to know the place better than Los Angeles, which is near where I live now and spent most of my life. So why do I feel like such an outsider with this book?

PS: Final thought, little funny to me as it opens with "Imagine you're on an airplane...." well that was easy for me, because I was on one while I read this book. :)

Update - May 3, 2017: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a review, but felt like it and, of course, the above opinions are my own.
824 reviews
December 20, 2021
I love the author's illustrations, and I came to this book in a roundabout way.

I moved to SF five years ago, and one of the books I really enjoyed early-on was Cool Gray City of Love, by Gary Kamiya. Then I learned about another one of his books, Spirits of San Francisco, and thus was introduced to the drawings that Paul Madonna because of that book.

One day in City Lights, I spotted this book (which they published), and of course, it caught my eye because of Spirits... It seemed so timely...

Though still quite new to SF, it makes me so happy to have learned of his works. I know I will be reading and viewing more.
Profile Image for Jan.
301 reviews1 follower
October 11, 2019
Clever, succinct, and poignant, this book revealed many issues in our changing urban neighborhoods. Madonna cast himself in these reflections but also wove in various other recurring characters (whom I suspect are fictional or at least composites). He's facing eviction from a home he loves in a San Francisco neighborhood, yet I recognize some of the same issues in play here in Kansas City - half a country away. This was touching without being maudlin, and the images made the reading all the more moving -- again, with a light touch.
Profile Image for Alison.
128 reviews6 followers
June 16, 2017
As always full of beautiful art, this time the artist for All Over Coffee tells a bittersweet tale of his eviction from San Francisco. It's a story we know too well but he makes it into absurdist conversations and outrageous interactions with strangers. And while he does use absurdity to make his points, he also comes across as very genuine. I'm sad he's leaving. The city will miss him. But on to the next dream!
Profile Image for Ione.
31 reviews
June 28, 2017
A very quick read that dwells on the feelings of helplessness and frustration the author faced when he found himself facing eviction in S.F. His writing ranges from witty to bizarre as he tries to make sense of what is happening to the City he loves. It's hard to give up on a dream.
Loved the art work. The book is on it's way to my techie son in the Bay Area who has given up on ever being able to afford a place of his own.
I wish the author well.
Profile Image for Rhea.
982 reviews39 followers
June 6, 2017
I loved all the serious musings in this book about what it is like to live in San Francisco as an artist during the tech boom. I deeply related to his complex perspective. However, the parts I didn't like were the more absurdist ones - it's just not my style of humor. Great, quick book for anyone who thinks about gentrification.
Profile Image for Alan.
678 reviews10 followers
December 20, 2021
A very engaging and timely illustrated novel about an artist facing eviction in an ever-changing (read tech-infested) San Francisco. The illustrations really make the story - each panel complements the narrative in a really powerful way. I stumbled upon the book in the world's great bookstore - City Lights - and look forward to reading more the author's work.
Profile Image for Bob.
Author 11 books27 followers
May 24, 2017
Simply beautiful. Simply delightful. I really don't like much out there, I really don't, but "On to the Next Dream" I couldn't put down. It was sharp, clever, honest and maybe the funniest book on eviction ever written.
Profile Image for Bill.
221 reviews75 followers
September 11, 2017
Short, funny, interesting book that has only become more relevant as gentrification of San Francisco stampedes on. Sure, the targets are easy and the jokes obvious but this was ultimately likable.
Profile Image for Jesse.
73 reviews7 followers
September 17, 2017
I love the satire, the drawings, and the exploration of San Francisco's housing crisis, as well as Oakland's gentrification which I am, alas, a contributor towards.
66 reviews4 followers
December 31, 2017
a brief, heartbreaking meditation on the nature of San Francisco and change.
Profile Image for Johanna Haas.
319 reviews5 followers
February 26, 2018
Surrealistic-tinged illustrated story about the housing crisis in San Francisco. Deals with the impressions and feelings of a person being displaced by gentrification.
Profile Image for Vira Tanka.
35 reviews2 followers
December 11, 2019
I like the drawings. The story is an unpopular way of looking at gentrification but a realistic one though he put it in a surrealistic kinda way.
337 reviews7 followers
June 8, 2017
Initially the book rubbed me the wrong way, complaining about gentrification and society moving past him seemed tremendously obnoxious. Then it became apparent that Madonna was in fact self-aware of this fact and made it clear that he was conscious that gentrification seems great when you are the culprit and outrageous when you are the victim. In the end I began to appreciate the book as a personal journey for the author, his drawings and writings were a way for him to process his conflicting feelings and the tale was therefore not for a wide audience but for a very specific niche. The drawings were also nice though a bit repetitive. Not for everyone but it might be helpful to a soul or two.
Profile Image for Maryann Kandlik.
37 reviews8 followers
March 22, 2017
Once again a Paul Madonna book arrived just when I needed it. Very funny take on the dilemma of life in California and why those of us who have lived there refuse to be beaten by it, and choose to return or remain. The illustrations as always are beautiful.
Profile Image for Grace Goodman.
13 reviews
April 11, 2017
As always Paul Madonna knows just what to do with his creativity. So relatable yet so touching, this book is one of his best works. If you have't pick it up, you are doing yourself a disservice.
Displaying 1 - 22 of 22 reviews

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