Wednesday, April 29, 2009
C.O.R.A. Diversity Roll Call Week #4--Shortcomings by Adrian Tomine
This week's roll call asks us to write about a Asian, South Asian, or Asian American writer we like. I'd like to recommend a comic book (or graphic novel, if you like) called Shortcomings by Adrian Tomine. I'd read some good reviews of it here and there and saw it on the shelf at my local comic book shop (where I had gone to purchase the latest issues of Tiny Titans and New Avengers), so I picked it up. It was amazing.
The basic story revolves around Ben, his girlfriend and his lesbian best friend. Ben (and his girlfriend and his best friend) is Asian American and may or may not have a serious white girl fetish. The story follows a typical narrative arc of self-deluded protagonist finding some clarity by the story's end, but what I really enjoyed about this book was Tomine's ability, through the art, to get me to *feel* Ben's cluelessness, his desperate need to keep himself in the dark. Tomine has a wonderful ability to convey awkward silence in this book. And as I am endlessly fascinated by works of fiction that portray the way race is actually lived in America (it matters when it matters, it doesn't when it doesn't, as I tell my students) while also being about something completely unrelated to race (in this case, how soul-sucking New York City can be, how soul-sucking self-delusion can be), this book rocked my socks.