The Unwritten: Okay, okay, stories matter


Mike Carey’s and Peter Gross’s The Unwritten: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity is my first read in the “books with illustrations” category. I started reading an illustrated book of an evil Peter Pan (The Child Thief), but found myself hating it, and so I replaced Peter Pan with Tommy Taylor on P’s recommendation.

I have to admit to be a little underwhelmed. The cover of the comic proclaims “Wired” thinks its “one of the most interesting comics of the year,” and I’ll admit that it is a clever weave of “reality” and “fiction,” with surprising comic inclusions of television broadcasts, web pages, newspaper reports and stories-within-the-story that do add a metatextual element of “interest” in literary/cultural collage. That said, the central message of the comic = stories create the world = is overdone, or maybe more accurately, is the only thing to be done in the narrative. I suppose the effect of this single thematic focus and set of questions (what kind of world can a story create? what power do stories have over lives? politics?) is to ensure the reader “gets it” —> stories create the only meaning we have access to <— but has such little faith in a competent reader that the comic belabours this point rather than exploring the consequences of story-based-reality (for instance, the beginning of the narrative starts to consider the ‘mob’ effect of changes to popular and accepted stories, but only in terms of Tommy Taylor and doesn’t extend this discussion to the other, not strictly ‘literary’ stories that circulate in a given society).

I did like reading a book in pictures.


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Filed under 100 Books of 2011

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