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The Park Bench

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  1,437 ratings  ·  295 reviews
Chabouté's enchanting story of a park bench was first published to critical acclaim in France in 2012. Faber now brings his work to the English-speaking world for the first time.

Through Chabouté's elegant graphic style, we watch people pass, stop, meet, return, wait and play out the strange and funny choreography of life. Fans of The Fox and the Star, The Man Who Planted T
Paperback, 336 pages
Published July 6th 2017 by Faber Faber (first published September 2012)
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Average rating 4.23  · 
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 ·  1,437 ratings  ·  295 reviews

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Diane S ☔
Nov 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
I have fallen in love with the talents of this amazing artist. Yes, a picture can tell a thousand words, and using a park bench, the author does just that. We have many benches in my town, along the river walk, benches that have probably seen it all. Once again using black and white pictures, we see the many things that this bench has seen. The same people walk past every day, a dog uses it as his favorite toilet, and other people and glimpses of their lives play out on this park bench. Some are ...more
Jan 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
What a touching artistic work this is. Last year I read (and loved) "Alone" by Chabouté, so when I saw that "The Park Bench" had also been translated into English from French, I ran to the library to fetch it.

As the title suggests, it's the story of one park bench and of the people who use it over the years. Musicians, elderly couples, readers, skateboarders, parents with children, a homeless man, and even a dog. It's almost a wordless book, and I was entranced as I slowly turned through the pag
Nov 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, graphic-novels
The Park Bench is full of quiet, revealing, and intimate glances into everyday moments, capturing clever little details in the background. Including romantic couples both young and old, gossiping, people watching, and so much more. This silent graphic novel speaks volumes.

Marketing his English-language debut, The Park Bench is Chabouté's beautiful and acclaimed story of a park bench and the lives it witnesses. At once intimate and universal, it is one of the most moving books you could hope to c
David Schaafsma
As is his graphic novel Alone, The Park Bench, another graphic novel, is silent, like a Charlie Chaplin silent black and white film. Oh, there are words on shirts in the book, you see the titles of books, but this tome of a book wordlessly tells the story of a cultural site for a kind of loosely constructed community: A wooden park bench. The focus, over some time, is on a collection of people who live in the area and who use the bench: A woman reader, a runner, lovers. A guy who paints it from ...more
Sep 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned, graphic-novels
A very sweet story about a park bench and all the people that interact with it over the years. I enjoyed this graphic novel because it was able to express so much without using any words; it's 100% illustrated.
Sam Quixote
Jun 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Christophe Chaboute tells the story of a park bench’s “life” - the people who walk past it, who sit on it, who they are, what they’re doing, and so on. And it sounds gimmicky and contrived but it’s actually a very poignant “read”. I say “read” because there are no words but there’s something very powerful about silent narratives - think the first five minutes of Up or the animated short Paperman. They’re incredibly moving and deeply memorable sequences in large part due to their simplicity in co ...more
Jon Nakapalau
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Visual poetry - highest recommendation.
Oct 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those who like graphic books or may be in a reading rut, those who are looking for a quick read
This is the second graphic novel that I have read by this author. If you can call it reading, that is. His books are far more visual than anything. It wasn’t as much of an emotional read as his first one, “Alone”, but it’s still a beautiful story nonetheless – the sort of book that makes you think and appreciate the world around you. It’s a story is about a park bench and the various people who visit it at different times.

destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]
I mean... from an artistic point of view, I get it, but this was not for me at all.

The Park Bench is literally 300-something pages of focusing on a park bench while people of all walks of life come and go - some sitting on it, some walking past it, some interacting with one another. When interactions do occur, there is no text dialogue whatsoever, so we have no idea what is happening or why.

I felt like this is one of those graphic novels that was built just for the ~artistic aesthetic~, and whil
With the only words in “Park Bench” being book titles and scribbles on the bench, it is the purest form of a graphic novel. I can’t even begin to describe how beautiful this book is. No words could do it justice. I laughed and I cried and I felt despair for the human race and hope for the human race and etc. I can’t recommend this enough. It is truly something you will never forget. If only there were 100 star ratings.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publis
♥ Sandi ❣
5 stars

This is an author that can create in one picture what others take 300 pages to try to relate. He can tell a whole story in one page. And can do that without words. This mans talent is superb.

His emphasis is low key, his trajectory is off the chart. He is able to take the simplest of thing - such as a park bench - and create story after story of the life of that bench and the community that surrounds it. His graphic art, in black and white, is simplistic, but speaks volumes. His storytell
Sep 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. Just … wow.

Say you're a park bench. A nice, traditional, roomy seat – big enough for two, or three, or four if you're friendly, shaded by a tree in a park. Every day dozens of people go by – you see joggers taking a favorite route, or people on their way to work. Some pause to tie a shoe or take a call or catch their breath – and there's that one bloody dog … And then there are the regulars, who come to enjoy the weather and maybe read or watch people go by – or stretch out on you to sleep
Feb 26, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: good
Who knew you could say so much without having to say a word? This story is about human ties, the passing of time, change, and simply people living their lives. There's nothing remarkable about it, but at the same time, that's what makes it so special.
Jan 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Because I enjoyed Alone so much last year, I put this on hold as soon as we ordered it for the library because I wanted to see if it would be as intriguing, melancholy yet hopeful, and endearing as the other.
It is.

This actually reminded me strongly of Here, which I love dearly, with the unfolding of life around one specific area.

Park Bench is just that - a story about life surrounding a park bench.

Recurring characters pass or visit the bench and as the years go by, you see their stories unfo
This is probably my favourite of Chabouté’s graphic works. Similar to Alone, The Park Bench is a (mostly) wordless graphic novel with a tight focus on a singular entity. Instead of a person, readers follow a small group of people who frequently use a (wait for it) park bench.

I really enjoyed this examination of a microcosm of people. Chabouté evokes a sense of community around the use of this bench, even though only a few of the characters interact with one another. I was also impressed with th
Apr 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Chabouté is brilliant! He does so much with so little.
Aug 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle, august-2017
Simple in its execution, yet filled with some lovely moments, Park bench is a contemplative graphic novel, with no words included almongside its pictures. I must admit that I'm not a great fan of the art style here, but I did feel that the black and white illustrations worked nicely, and movement, and time passing, were well captured. The simple park bench makes a clever focal point which the rest of the story is anchored around. Far more powerful than I was expecting when I began to read.
Rod Brown
Well, the title character is a little wooden... (Ba-dum bum!)

Despite its physical thickness and heft, this book is actually pretty slight as it is almost entirely wordless. The park bench serves as the setting for several different vignettes that play out in just a few panels each, but are intermingled and spread out over the course of several years. It's repetitive in nature, but the stories are mostly uplifting or gently bittersweet and worth the short time it takes to scan through the book.
Jan 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this graphic novel. It's like a treatise on life and the human condition. All the little details in the characters' gestures, the way they take up the page feels so life like. It feels like you could fit right in there with these people, in this story.
Following the different characters in their routines, watching their arcs reach a climax that is both tragic and heartfelt.
I loved every moment of this.
This is an absolutely astounding wordless graphic novel that chronicles the lives of several folks (and one dog) who regularly pass by a particular park bench. It beautifully captures moments of not only everyday life, but of unexpected connection and quiet revelation. Truly gorgeous.
Sep 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This wordless graphic novel is like Mary Poppins, "practically perfect in every way." It is raw, endearing, heartwarming, and heartbreaking all in one.
Sateem ó_ò
A respite, a moment, a pause
A shelter, a haven, a refuge
A scene, a society
A crossroads

Just a little wood and steel
I picked this up because I loved his book about a man isolated and living alone in a lighthouse.

Here the story is told completely in images. The focus is a park bench, but the people that walk by or sit on it over the years have rich lives. I love the follow through with the first couple that carves a message into the bench.

A touching group of stories completely told with black and white sketches. Amazing.
Mar 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful. Gorgeous. Delicious.

I'm going to have to go through this again real soon.

I particularly loved the subtleties of the sequence using a spray-painted sign on the bench with overlays of people clothing and reading material. Delightful.

And the reoccurring characters ... wonderful storytelling. It would be neat to see someone use this as the storyboards for a film (Hint. Hint. Sure it wouldn't be a blockbuster, but it also wouldn't have a very high production cost either).
Stephanie (aka WW)
Feb 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
(3.75 stars, rounding up)

I’m a huge Chaboute fan. His graphic take on Moby Dick is perfection, and his second book - Alone - is the definitive book on the loneliness of a lighthouse keeper (in his case a deformed lighthouse keeper). Check those two out for sure. This book is interesting, but left me wanting more. It’s the graphic life of a park bench and, while beautifully drawn, it was lacking in story in my opinion. There are some recurrent characters to follow, but they weren’t all that inter
Derek Royal
Feb 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A silent and measured look at the interconnected nature of a community through unlikely means: a park bench. What makes this work stand out from Chabouté's previously published Alone is that this narrative is entirely silent, with no dialogue whatsoever. (There is a minimum of text, however, but not linked to speech.) Edward and I will be discussing this book along with Alone on an upcoming episode of The Comics Alternative's Euro Comics series.
Jan 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful and bittersweet, "Park Bench" tells a moving story about the nuances of human relationships, whether they be between intimate friends or complete strangers. I laughed, I cried- I felt all the feels. The artwork is perfectly expressive, allowing the readers to relax and enjoy the story without expending too much of themselves on interpreting.
Oct 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: digital, 2020, europe
(4 of 5 for nice melancholy and some touching moments, the things we like Chabouté for)
On 300+ pages long comics with simple but efficient art completely without words (or at least spoken ones) we follow the "life" of one park bench. And with it the lives of people around it. Even if it's 300+ pages, it's a quick reading, there is not much to read and study on the page. All those brief moments of life around the bench make the whole story. They look random at first, but usually, there is more to
Darren Shaw
Dec 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. At the outset, I was concerned that it would not really grab me. But this subtle, unassuming little book with its ordinary people passing regularly by this little bench just drew me in. Chaboutés artwork and storytelling are brilliant in their simplicity. Writers are often encouraged to “show, not tell.” ‘Park Bench’ should be required reading for understanding that concept in crafting effective stories.
Jan 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
such a cute little book (has 328 pages and is actually physically quite big but let's just ignore that) that i found in the library. has no words, yet it tells a story of how something as insignificant as a park bench can mean so much to so many people with the artwork on each page. very quick read, would recommend :)
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Christophe Chabouté is a French author and illustrator.

D’origine alsacienne, il suit les cours des Beaux-Arts d’Angoulême, puis de Strasbourg. Vents d'Ouest publie ses premières planches en 1993 dans Les Récits, un album collectif sur Arthur Rimbaud. Mais il se fait surtout connaître en 1998 en publiant Sorcières aux éditions du Téméraire (primé au Festival d’Illzach) puis Quelques jours d’été aux

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