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Sabrina
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2018 Longlist [MBP] > Sabrina by Nick Drnaso

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message 1: by Maxwell (new)

Maxwell (welldonebooks) | 375 comments Mod
This thread is for discussion of Sabrina by Nick Drnaso.

Please be considerate of spoilers when posting your thoughts. Either use the spoiler tag or make it clear at the top of your comment that you will be posting specific details of the story.

Happy reading & discussing!


Robert | 363 comments I thought Sabrina was excellent and seeing how the themes of this year's Booker longlist consist of crime and in depth analysis' of human relations, I think Sabrina fits in perfectly.


Here's my review :

https://deucekindred.wordpress.com/20...


Craig Rimmer | 33 comments I’m not convinced this book should have been long listed at all. It’s a good graphic novel and I probably wouldn’t have read it if it wasn’t on the list but that doesn’t justify it being there. It’s not literature and if it goes on to be shortlisted or even wins because of its novelty factor I would be severely disappointed.


Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer I am with you Craig. I would have far rather the Booker rules were changed to include short stories or translated fiction.


Robert | 363 comments Ah just thinking that the MBI can include translated graphic novels too!


Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer Just posted my review complete with my specially commissioned (admittedly for another purpose) graphic frame.

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

If you can’t beat em ...


Meike (meikereads) I'm with Robert on this one: I'm all for including different forms of storytelling in the Booker list as long as the quality justifies it - in this case, it does.

I liked the quiet minimalism Drnaso employs to tell his story, and which contrasts directly with the loud media outrage he depicts. He draws with very few lines, there is nothing that wouldn't be necessary to tell the story. The reader has to look very closely at the faces to see the nuance in the expressions - and it is the need for nuance, for close attention and an acute awareness that this author wants to highlight in his story.

An important theme in the book is loneliness: The dialogue often consists of polite, but empty phrases, many images show just one person in a lonely room, hall or street, the story hints at different dimensions of alienation, and the coloring is very bleak and within a limited range. In this context, Drnaso discusses how and to what ends acts of violence like abductions, murders or mass shootings are committed in the media age, how the news cycle spins and how victims and their families are victimized a second time as a consequence of sensationalist reporting and the way some viewers react to it.

Here's my review.


Neil | 511 comments And I'm in agreement with Robert and Meike. I feel sure this book could have been written in words, but this author doesn't do his books that way. The fact that he chooses images doesn't, in my view, detract from the overall purpose which is to tell a story and communicate some messages. You can do that in words or in pictures and, as long as the story is strong and the method of communication selected is of a high enough quality, I don't see why it can't work. I'm not sure whether you can call the end result "literature", though - I'm still thinking that one through.


Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer Yes I am still reflecting also. Clearly this book works as an art form but should it be Booker eligible and if it is should not other forms be considered - for example what about conceptual music albums like American Idiot which had a lot to say on contemporary America and mixed words with music.

I think my issue is that the Booker is a (possibly too) narrowly prescribed prize - no short story collections, no translated fiction for example, so extensions don’t seem natural.

I don’t have answers here, just posing questions.


message 10: by Britta (last edited Aug 06, 2018 03:31PM) (new) - added it

Britta Böhler | 314 comments Mod
I think the only question the Booker judges have to answer is: 'Is the book a novel?' (To be more precise: not the judges but the Literary Director of the Booker Foundation, who decides on issues of eligibility). According to the rules, the Booker is not a prize for the best story or the best book but for the "best novel". And I don't think a graphic novel (despite the name) qualifies as a 'fictitious prose narrative of book length'. But neither does an epic poem... (And I also have doubts about the publisher of Sabrina, because the Booker-rules state that the publisher must publish at least two literary fiction novels each year. But clearly, the Literary Director came to a different conclusion).


message 11: by Jay (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jay | 2 comments I agree with Britta, despite finding Sabrina to be remarkably powerful. It succeeded in creating an atmosphere of alienation and foreboding, while beautifully depicting the current American mood. I was completely unsettled by it, and wish everyone would read it. BUT, I don't think it should have been on the Booker longlist. It just simply is not a novel. In fact, it shares far more with film than a piece of literature, a thought that many people in the field of graphic storytelling share. That being said I don't think it should be a contender for an Academy Award either. Which gets to the fact that films also tell a story but the Booker is not including movies, or even screenplays. There are awards for Nick Drnaso's genre, which should certainly be given more respect and attention, and this work deserves the highest praise among those who are working in that discipline.


Robert | 363 comments Gumble's Yard wrote: "Yes I am still reflecting also. Clearly this book works as an art form but should it be Booker eligible and if it is should not other forms be considered - for example what about conceptual music a..."

Interesting - In fact didn't Magnus Mills release a book with an album. Also last month techno artist Leon Vynehall released his memoir, which is about being the child of immigrant parents, which came with a soundtrack, that had to be played while reading.

Full album here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRGn-...

In those cases, I think it's ok. As long as the reader gets a quality (subjective word) experience


Robert | 363 comments Britta wrote: "I think the only question the Booker judges have to answer is: 'Is the book a novel?' (To be more precise: the Literary Director of the Booker Foundation decides on issues of eligibility). Accordin..."

Did you read the Sabrina before writing this Britta? :)

Why should one restrict oneself though? There's nothing wrong with thinking outside the proverbial box. Sabrina is a book with qualities that can be deemed as literary. Simple as that. If the booker list featured an Archie comic, I would protest but I have no qualms with a piece of work that can be interpreted different ways.

We also have to see the signs of the times.

Incidentally Sabrina's Uk publisher is Granta , who won the booker with the luminaries :)


message 14: by Britta (last edited Jul 31, 2018 11:39PM) (new) - added it

Britta Böhler | 314 comments Mod
@Robert: My remarks were not meant as a critique of Sabrina nor was I talking about its qualities. I'm just doubting in general whether a graphic novel qualifies under the rules of the Booker. No matter how good. In other words, I am talking about eligibility, not quality.


Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer re Magnus Mills I know his last book was the Forensic Record Society. The book itself was designed to look like a 45 and even had a hole in the middle of the cover. Paul and I attended a very quirky but lovely event with probably no more than 15 other readers where he alternated readings with playing some of his favourite vintage 45s on a portable record player he had bought.


Robert | 363 comments Britta wrote: "@Robert: My remarks were not meant as a critique of Sabrina nor was I talking about its qualities. I'm just doubting in general whether a graphic novel qualifies under the rules of the Booker. No m..."

Sorry for misinterpreting your question :) It does imo as for the reasons I described in my previous answer.


message 17: by Britta (new) - added it

Britta Böhler | 314 comments Mod
@Sunita: Very interesting observations in your review and the additional comment, thanx for adding these points to the discussion!


Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer Seconded on both counts.


Robert | 363 comments That's true! and most graphic novel houses are small operations and cannot afford to submit so that imbalance will always be there. Sabrina was lucky because of the Granta connection. I don't think this will be a one off though and over time we'll see a couple more titles sneak into the list.


message 20: by Paul (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) The point is well made about it probably being the only graphic novel submitted - and I think it is not so much budget as most publishers would (correctly) have assumed graphic novels weren't even eligible. But at least Sabrina does seem to be a very strong example of its type - if the graphic novel community had decided to nominate just one book to compete there is a good chance it would have been this one.

On the other hand the crime fiction genre seems to have been badly let down by the choice of Snap.

Will be interested to see if graphic novels do now form a permanent part of the Booker. Could be an equally good chance that next year's jury decide to revert to tradition (in the same way this year's choice could perhaps be seen as a reaction to the rather predictable if strong list last year).


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