Cover image for Off season / James Sturm.
Title:
Off season / James Sturm.
ISBN:
9781770463318
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
[Montreal, Canada], Drawn & Quarterly, 2019.

©2019
Physical Description:
212 pages : chiefly illustrations ; 16 x 22 cm
General Note:
Place of publication from publisher's website.
Abstract:
"How could this happen? The question of 2016 becomes deeply personal in James Sturm's riveting graphic novel Off Season, which charts one couple's divisive separation through the fall of 2016-during Bernie's loss to Hillary, Hillary's loss to Trump, and the disorienting months that followed. We see a father navigating life as a single parent and coping with the disintegration of a life-defining relationship. Amid the upheaval are tender moments with his kids-a sleeping child being carried in from the car, Christmas morning anticipation, a late-night cookie after a temper tantrum-and fallible humans drenched in palpable feelings of grief, rage, loss, and overwhelming love. Using anthropomorphized characters as a tactic for tempering an otherwise emotionally fraught situation, Off Season is unaffected and raw, steeped in the specificity of its time while speaking to a larger cultural moment. A truly human experience, Off Season displays Sturm's masterful pacing and storytelling combined with conscious and confident growth as the celebrated cartoonist and educator moves away from historical fiction to deliver this long-form narrative set in contemporary times. Originally serialized on Slate, this expanded edition turns timely vignettes into a timeless, deeply affecting account of one family and their off season."-- Provided by publisher.
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Summary

Summary

Rage. Depression. Divorce. Politics. Love. A visceral story that you can see, taste, and feel.  How could this happen? The question of 2016 becomes deeply personal in James Sturm's riveting graphic novel Off Season, which charts one couple's divisive separation through the fall of 2016--during Bernie's loss to Hillary, Hillary's loss to Trump, and the disorienting months that followed.We see a father navigating life as a single parent and coping with the disintegration of a life-defining relationship. Amid the upheaval are tender moments with his kids--a sleeping child being carried in from the car, Christmas morning anticipation, a late-night cookie after a temper tantrum--and fallible humans drenched in palpable feelings of grief, rage, loss, and overwhelming love. Using anthropomorphized characters as a tactic for tempering an otherwise emotionally fraught situation, Off Season is unaffected and raw, steeped in the specificity of its time while speaking to a larger cultural moment.A truly human experience, Off Season displays Sturm's masterful pacing and storytelling combined with conscious and confident growth as the celebrated cartoonist and educator moves away from historical fiction to deliver this long-form narrative set in contemporary times. Originally serialized on Slate, this expanded edition turns timely vignettes into a timeless, deeply affecting account of one family and their off season.


Author Notes

James Sturm lives in White River Junction, Vermont, with his wife and two daughters, where he helps run a cartooning school that he co-founded, The Center for Cartoon Studies. His books include Market Day, The Golem's Mighty Swing, Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow, The Fantastic Four: Unstable Molecules, Denys Wortman's New York, and the popular Adventures in Cartooning series. His comics, writing, and illustrations have appeared in many national and regional publications including the Chronicle of Higher Education, The Onion, The New York Times, Slate, and on the cover of The New Yorker. Sturm has taught and exhibited his work throughout the world.


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

The romantic underpinnings of this bleakly drawn and emotionally raw graphic novel from Sturm (The Golem's Mighty Swing) are buried under Yankee stoicism and the sniping crossfire and precisely drawn quotidian scenes of loss in a failing marriage. But these loosely linked chapters on the travails of a grumpy contractor feeling pressed on all sides-cheating boss; angry, nearly divorced wife; tantrum-tossing children-all host a kernel of longing. The dialogue is clipped and astute, threaded neatly into delicately steely art by Sturm, whose naturalism is so pronounced that it takes only a few pages to forget that he has drawn all the characters as dogs (albeit wearing clothes, driving cars, and walking on two legs). In between the contractor's bursts of frustrated rage ("I need to get back to work-I don't have a trust fund"), nods to the dark tides of frustrated masculinity that swept through the 2016 election, and snarky sarcasm ("Bernie sticker on his Mercedes-Benz. A real man of the people"), Sturm slips in short, bright glimpses of grander possibilities. This finely wrought, politically agitated graphic fiction recalls Raymond Carver, and speaks almost too painfully to the personal strife in today's political climate. (Feb.) c Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

Mark and wife Lisa, passionate supporters of Bernie Sanders, find themselves disoriented and depressed after the senator's presidential campaign comes to an end. Three months later, Lisa has rallied and thrown herself into supporting the Hillary Clinton campaign, but Mark can't help but feel adrift, left behind and more than a little angry, especially after his marriage begins to crumble. Suddenly Mark is tasked with figuring out how to raise two small children on his own, reconnect with his aging parents, and deal with a boss who sports a Bernie bumper sticker on his BMW but seems suspiciously quick with an excuse every time Mark asks for a paycheck. Sturm (The Golem's Might Swing) presents a masterfully illustrated meditation on masculinity, family, and the modern American psyche, delivered with such empathy and insight into the human condition that from page to page readers might forget that all of the characters are anthropomorphized dogs. VERDICT Many readers will relate to the spiritual malaise Sturm captures here, but it's the story's ultimately hopefully ending that makes this the first truly essential graphic novel to tackle American life since 2016. © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.