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Blurred Vision: New Narrative Art    by Blurred Books order for
Blurred Vision
by Blurred Books
Order:  USA  Can
Blurred Books, 2006 (2006)

Read an Excerpt

* *   Reviewed by Lance Victor Eaton

Not all graphic novels are equal and not all make sense in a way that we expect. As the medium expands and more people apply their story-telling trade to this format, new genres and styles appear that challenge and engage in ways that might not be comfortable or even understandable, particularly to the impatient reader or one who likes the typical format of traditional narratives.

In the twelve tales of this collection, no superhero saves the day at the last minute, and protagonists and antagonists are scarce. When they are present, readers will be dubious about identifying with them for not all is well in these stories. 'New Narrative Art' aptly describes these bizarre tales whose interpretation could produce a different answer with each person asked. Submerging us in surrealistic elements and actions, ten different authors provide a challenging landscape of thoughts that only the most dedicated graphic novel enthusiast will attempt to tackle.

Though all stories are told in black and white, artistic style varies greatly and can in and of itself provoke thought and insight. In The Revenge of the Lesbian Folk-Singer, the characters are all almost perfect replicas of dolls that children would use. The story itself follows Adam, whose ex-girlfriend sings in a lesbian folkband after being dumped by him because of the scars on her chest after a breast reduction. Use of the dolls reinforces the materialistic theme permeating the plot - such techniques reflect the depth at which Kevin Mutch and others included in this anthology are working in relating their tales. Some stories do not apply so much detail and use simple iconic drawings to deliver their message. And not all the narratives are sequential panels - some are mere poems or words accompanying a picture, both drawing off each other in terms of further explaining the intent.

The name implies - and the narratives re-enforce - the idea that this graphic novel strives to play with how we understand sequential art, follow narratives, and interpret images. Rather than integrating the three, Blurred Visions attempts to meld them together to see what kind of concoction manifests. The final product certainly provokes. But not all stories grab hold of the reader and some might push in the wrong direction. It's the challenge of any new style. So while readers may not all love this graphic novel, they should give it a fair chance and see what they can discover about themselves through this rather engaging piece.

Note: The graphic novel can be ordered from Blurred Books.

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