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Epileptic (Hardcover)

Author:  David B.
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Learn more about Epileptic:

Format: Hardcover
ISBN-10: 0375423184
ISBN-13: 9780375423185
Sku: 39951181
Publish Date: 1/4/2005
Dimensions:  (in Inches) 9.25H x 7L x 1.25T
Pages:  368
Age Range:  NA
See more in Literary
Hailed by The Comics Journal as one of Europe's most important and innovative comics artists, David B. has created a masterpiece in Epileptic, his stunning and emotionally resonant autobiography about growing up with an epileptic brother. Epileptic gathers together and makes available in English for the first time all six volumes of the internationally acclaimed graphic work.
David B. was born Pierre-Franois Beauchard in a small town near Orleans, France. He spent an idyllic early childhood playing with the neighborhood kids and, along with his older brother, Jean-Christophe, ganging up on his little sister, Florence. But their lives changed abruptly when Jean-Christophe was struck with epilepsy at age eleven. In search of a cure, their parents dragged the family to acupuncturists and magnetic therapists, to mediums and macrobiotic communes. But every new cure ended in disappointment as Jean-Christophe, after brief periods of remission, would only get worse.
Angry at his brother for abandoning him and at all the quacks who offered them false hope, Pierre-Franois learned to cope by drawing fantastically elaborate battle scenes, creating images that provide a fascinating window into his interior life. An honest and horrifying portrait of the disease and of the pain and fear it sowed in the family, Epileptic is also a moving depiction of one family's intricate history. Through flashbacks, we are introduced to the stories of Pierre-Franois's grandparents and we relive his grandfathers' experiences in both World Wars. We follow Pierre-Franois through his childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, all the while charting his complicated relationship with his brother and Jean-Christophe"slosing battle with epilepsy. Illustrated with beautiful and striking black-and-white images, Epileptic is as astonishing, intimate, and heartbreaking as the best literary memoir.
This is the first complete edition of a French graphic novel memoir that is harrowing and poignant but also touched with humor. When writer/artist David B. (then known as Pierre-Francois Beauchard) was a child, his older brother Jean-Christophe was diagnosed with epilepsy. As Jean-Christophe's desperate parents grasp at straws--visiting neurologists, psychiatrists, spiritualists, acupuncturists, gurus, and macrobiotics practitioners, all of whom claim that they can alleviate the boy's increasingly frequent and more violent seizures--the lives of the entire family are swallowed up in the quest for a cure. David responds by retreating farther and farther inside himself, creating and illustrating a vivid, disturbing fantasy world where he is a warrior defeating monsters and other supernatural creatures. The black-and-white art is both childlike and sophisticated, as is appropriate for an adult's childhood reminiscences.


"[O]ne of the greatest graphic novels ever published... B.'s artwork is magnificent--gorgeously bold, impressionistic representations of the world not as it is but as he's taught himself to perceive it. B's illustrations constantly underscore his writing's wrenching psychological depth; readers can literally see how the chaos of his childhood shaped his vision and mind." (starred review) 11/22/2004

"Fantastical, gloriously illustrated....[M]agnificent....An unromantic, heartrending tale, wrapped in a cloak of nightmares." (starred review) 12/01/2004

"This graphic memoir depicts, with an admirable lack of sentimentality, how dealing with illness can become a power struggle as desperate and corrupting as that of war." 1/24 & 1/31/2005

"[H]arrowing, beautiful." January/February 2005

"[A] landmark work in the autobiographical-comics genre." (starred review) - Gordon Flagg 12/15/2004

"[J]ust as the graphic novel has borrowed from the acute observations skills of the great literary writers of the past, so EPILEPTIC borrows from the great cultural and intellectual archeologies of French nonfiction of the last 100 years, while remaining both accessible and moving." - Rick Moody 1/23/2005

Product Attributes

Product attributeBook Format:   Hardcover
Product attributeNumber of Pages:   0368
Product attributePublisher:   Pantheon Books
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