Arts + Culture » Literary

Building Stories

By Chris Ware (Pantheon)

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Building Stories is not a book. It’s an immense box filled with hardcover graphic novels, mini-comics and oversized newspaper comics that together tell the story of an apartment building and its inhabitants. I’m not an anarcho-primitivist, but I love that Building Stories is a physical art piece that can’t be read on an e-reader. Chris Ware is crazy innovative and Building Stories, like his other books, is incredibly precise and architectural with detailed art and elaborate page layouts.The story focuses on a young woman with a prosthetic leg who grows from art student to florist to suburban mom. Ware’s stories are usually a one way trip to Depressing Town, and Building Stories has its bleak moments, but it also has glimpses of sweetness and beauty. Digging through this collection is like sorting through memories. Moments---happy, sad, mundane and weird---combine to tell the story of a life.

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