Reviews

L'accident de caça by David L. Carlson

rainbowbookworm's review against another edition

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3.0

This is a tough one to rate because there is a story within a story within a story. I felt that some parts worked but others were trying to hard to be successful. It took me a while to get through it, but I don't regret it as I was unfamiliar with the people who inspired it.

sashathewild's review against another edition

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dark emotional hopeful informative inspiring reflective slow-paced

4.0

danileighta's review against another edition

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5.0

I did not choose 5 stars lightly. This book is pretty incredible. The illustrations are mind-blowing and the story itself is unbelievable. It's a thick book, but can be read in one session. From Dante and Plato to hobos (authors word, not mine) on a train and befriending a man who committed a horrific crime, this graphic novel left me feeling introspective, hopeful, and scribbling furiously in my journal. I would suggest this to any young adult or adult.

lilynx's review against another edition

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dark emotional hopeful informative inspiring reflective sad fast-paced

5.0

theoisnotalive's review against another edition

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4.0

one of the most beautifully drawn graphic novels i've read. also very very good (and true!!!!!!)

iceberg0's review against another edition

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4.0

I backed this graphic novel on Kickstarter and am I ever glad I did. It is a wonderful story of crime and literature inside of a Chicago prison that has its bones in the real world. The art is really evocative, drawing you into the mind of the protagonist and pulling you along through the story. The passion that produced this story is clearly evident in every page. I would have some minor quibbles with the development of the characters in the initial pages but this book is well worth a read.

megthegrand's review against another edition

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challenging dark emotional informative tense fast-paced

5.0

redrockhoney's review against another edition

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challenging dark emotional hopeful reflective fast-paced

5.0

samarov's review against another edition

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review killed by the Chicago Tribune

The ingredients which make up David L. Carlson and Landis Blair’s epic graphic novel seem to guarantee a riveting read. Start with a blind man in 1950s Chicago taking in a son he barely knows after his mother’s untimely death. Add the lie that father tells about how he was blinded. Throw in Nathan Leopold, one of the perpetrators of the “Crime of the Century”. Top it off with Dante’s Inferno and watch the sparks fly. So why is this book so much less than the sum of its parts?

Charlie Rizzo arrives in Chicago from California to live with his father, Matt, after his mother’s sudden death. Matt tells Charlie his blindness is the result of a childhood hunting accident. Matt runs an insurance agency but spends all his free time clacking away at a brailler, composing an epic poem which Charlie helps him edit but finds mostly incomprehensible. Charlie finds his father odd and secretive but admires him until he finds himself in trouble with the law in his late teens. Accused of taking part in an armed robbery, Charlie refuses to give up his accomplices, saying he won’t be a rat. His father begs him to give them up because he doesn’t want Charlie to end up in prison like he did.

Matt confesses that he was actually blinded in a robbery gone wrong, then spent years in Stateville Prison after refusing to name his coconspirators. While there, he is befriended by Nathan Leopold, who talks him out committing suicide by introducing him to literature, most importantly, Dante’s Divine Comedy. Upon his release, Matt dedicates the rest of his life to poetry, using every available hour composing a Dante-esque saga called The Crucial Hint. At first Charlie is angry that his father has lied to him all these years, but he can’t help but fall under the spell of his storytelling. So what keeps the reader of The Hunting Accident from being similarly entranced?

A graphic novel must tell its story through its art as much if not more than through its words. Blair’s panels are a veritable symphony of cross-hatching. Light, dark, tight, loose, his crisscrossing pen marks cover every page like kudzu. Unfortunately, they can’t cover his limited abilities in rendering perspectival space. Rather than accentuating depth or foreshortening, all his busy mark-making serves to obscure what he’s trying to make visible. It’s difficult to point to a single page in this 400-plus page book which couldn’t have been told better without these illustrations.

But Carlson isn’t without fault either. Faced with the problem of organizing a story set in several time-periods, as well as in dreams and in quotations from some of the pillars of Western literature, he doesn’t arrive at any discernible structure at all. The narrative yo-yos from 50s and 60s Chicago to Stateville Prison in the 30s to whole pages from Matt Rizzo’s writings with little rhyme or reason. There are very few moments in this sprawling tale where one feels grounded in any sort of believable reality.

Perhaps the most effective passage in the entire book is the episode in which Matt and Nathan Leopold put on a shadow-play version of Dante’s Inferno for their fellow prisoners. The flat silhouettes and crudely painted backdrops which the two amateur dramaturgs devise are well within Blair’s rendering abilities and the simplified retelling of Dante’s descent, as well as the inmates’ hoots and hollers, are evoked simply and effectively. 

The subtitle of The Hunting Accident is A True Story of Crime and Poetry. Unfortunately, the most compelling crime within is that of Leopold and Loeb—which has been told in every medium imaginable before—and which is but a subplot here, and the best poetry is Dante’s (and thus doesn’t gain much by being quoted in a comic book). 

This book is culled mainly from Charlie Rizzo’s memories of his father and is obviously a labor of love. It is a son’s attempt to pay tribute to his father and one can’t fault its intention in any way. But its organization and execution does Matt Rizzo’s memory no favors. This muddled, confusing comic book takes a potentially compelling tale of sin, family, and redemption and turns it into an over-long, hard-to-follow chore. It’s a missed opportunity to tell a real Chicago story.

fleurdelyssa's review against another edition

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5.0

This was a really excellent, well researched book. I enjoyed the book all the more because it is based on real historical incidents and figures - sort of reminded me of Erik Larson's "Devil in the White City". This illustrations are intricate and deliberate, I spent so much time pouring over each page so that I didn't miss anything. I also enjoyed the inclusion of so much poetry, I don't know that I've ever felt so inspired to read Dante! I worthwhile read for anyone - even those that don't think that they enjoy graphic novels ;)