|Sample from Building Stories|
Written and drawn by the brilliant Chris Ware, Building Stories explores themes of loneliness, depression, regret, and expectations with vivid coloring and gorgeous illustrations that often appear architectural in nature. Many of the pieces read like infographics, plotting the life moments of a failed art-students and those around her though the author, and the characters themselves, were trying to make sense of life unfulfilled.
Interactivity, participatory storytelling, is at the heart of Building Stories. Reading the graphic novel is a form of collaboration, as it asks
Beyond the very structure of the work, the layout of illustrations demand participation. Ware often draws you through the panels with arrows and signs, guiding you through the experience. Sometimes these paths diverge, two arrows may branch off into their own moments in time, and you have to choose your own path accordingly. At other times, Ware abandons you to find your own way, offering single
Do not mistake Build Stories for an "artsy" jumble of haphazardly put-together comic strips. Like a well designed game, this is a carefully constructed experience, it just demands your participation. When everything is read, things make sense, or rather, you make sense of things as best you can. The work captures the almost terrifying process of understanding your life in relation to singular places in time, past moments that collectively make up your life. The pieces are inseparable from the whole.
|Building Stories contents from Global Panorama|
If I haven't sold you on the "book" yet, maybe the many accolades Ware has earned can sway you. Building Stories is the winner of the Cartoonist Studio Prize for Best Graphic Novel, Publishers Weekly's Best Book of the Year, Entertainment Weekly's Best Fiction of 2012, Boing Boing's Best Graphic Novel of the Year, among others, and appeared in several Top 10 Books of 2012 lists. Those gamers interested in interactive and spatial storytelling will find comfort in exploring the powerful (and deeply depressing) work.
One last piece of neat information regarding Building Story that you may find intriguing, the back of the box offers several "appropriate places to set down, forget or completely lose any number of its contents within th walls of an average well-appointed home."