Asterios Polyp

David Mazzucchelli
Star Rating
Reviewer's Rating
Mar 21, 2014

Asterios Polyp is a self-assured, domineering, wind-bag of a paper architect. A paper architect being one “whose reputation rests on his designs, rather than on the buildings constructed from them. In fact, none of his designs had ever been built.”

When we meet Asterios, his Manhattan apartment, where he wallows in self-pity while riding out a mid-life crisis, has just burned to the ground. So he takes the last of his money, hops on a bus, and “give[s] up on the one thing [he] thought defined him.” And it “prove[s] to be a lot less difficult than [he] could have imagined.”

Asterious Polyp is literary fiction at its finest. The graphic novel format is quite lovely, with pictures that convey life and all its requisite emotions; from meeting your true love for the first time, to recollections of a painful childhood, the sadness of growing old, and the hurt of failed relationships. It’s all here, and it’s lovely.

Never tried a graphic novel? Asterious Polyp will be a very nice introduction and will appeal to those who enjoyed Will Eisner’s A Contract with God and Other Tenement Stories, and David Smalls’ Stitches.

Reviewed by Helen H.
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