|Carnet De Voyage|
Craig Thompson is quickly becoming a must read artist/author for me. My first exposure to his work is actually the first book review I wrote for the site. Blankets was an honest portrayal of a boy and his first love. And the drawing style of Thompson was so clean and intricate, it both revealed and concealed a whole other world.
I went backwards from there and read his first novel, Goodbye, Chunky Rice. A sad little tale about trying to find ones self… told with a small turtle and his little mouse friend. It was a beautifully understated book. Taking a subject that so many before him have bastardized into self-serving dribble, Thompson makes you really hurt for our poor little turtle protagonist. So when I received Carnet De Voyage in the mail, I practically devoured it in one sitting.
Not really a graphic novel, Carnet De Voyage is actually the published tour journal/diary of Thompson during his travels to Morocco and through Europe earlier this year. The purpose of his trip to Morocco was research for his next book, Habibi (which, admittedly, I don't know much about). But his travels in Europe (mostly France) was two fold; press junkets and friends.
And while the idea of traveling for three months seems rather romantic and intriguing, this book reveals every bit of emotion Thompson felt while he was away from home. The elation of travel, the homesickness, the interesting stories of new people. At times, it seemed like he was happy just to talk to anyone about anything. The lack of having the constant contact with friends and family (especially in Morocco) seemed to get the better of Craig at times… and who could blame him?
It was actually very easy to place yourself in his shoes. You could feel the desperation of those dark times, you can feel the joy of being reunited with friends, and you feel the tedious schedule of book signing after book signing after interview. The fact that he took anytime to draw on top of this is quite amazing.
224 pages later, we come to the end of the book, but not the end of the journey for Thompson. While Top Shelf had asked for 224 pages, Craig had filled them up before his travels were done… and I was actually a little sad about that. You felt like you were traveling too, you rode camels in the desert; you wasted your days away with friends in a cottage in the Alps. It all seems very real to the reader, and that should go along way to describing how good of a storyteller Thompson is.
I can't wait for his next work. He has continually created stories and books that keep the reader transfixed on the pages. He makes you forget where you are, what time it is, and what else you need to get done… the only think that matters is find out what is on the next page.
- Jake Haselman | 2004-08-17