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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Review: Chopsitcks by Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral

Are you looking for a reading experience that's more experience than reading? Man, have I got a book for you. Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral's Chopsticks is a story about a girl and a boy and why they can't be together. Through minimal text and a spectacular assortment of images the authors have crafted a visual novel that stimulates a creative questioning like nothing I've encountered since reading Nick Bantock's Giffin and Sabine Trilogy.

Chopsticks begins with a breaking newscast alerting the reader/audience that Glory Fleming is missing. Glory is a world famous piano prodigy and her disappearance, quite obviously, shocks the nation. The novel quickly shifts into it's second section, the story of Glory's short life and rise to fame, but the real kickstarter of the book occurs when a young boy moves into the house next door. Frank and Glory fall into a quick and very serious relationship that worries Glory's father.

Glory's dependence on Frank deepens and begins to affect her abilities on the piano, thus putting a stop to her world tour. It is around this time that the details of the novel become increasingly odd. Images and words that had once been attributed to Frank now shift and belong to Glory. Where one character ends and the other begins becomes unclear. Soon Glory, the once great pianist, will only play variations of the simple piano piece "Chopsticks." Her life becomes a constant repetition of the notes F and G (the only two notes in Chopsticks) moving along the piano until finally Glory disappears.

This novel is an excellent portrayal of a girl's break from reality and the obsession that travels alongside it. I enjoyed trying to place all of the details and decide exactly what happened to Glory - the best part of the mystery is that the authors leave it up to the reader. You are presented with this beautiful collection of images and somewhat ambiguous text and then left to deduce what truly transpired. As I said in the intro, Chopsticks is an original and wonderful experience.

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