Friday, October 07, 2011

Book Review: A Contract With God

I came across a copy of Will Eisner's, "A Contract With God" Trilogy at my library. This includes three books, "A Contract With God", "A Life Force", and "Dropsie Avenue". I had heard vaguely of this book, so I picked it up. I was expecting a good graphic novel.

I wasn't expecting a book of this lyrical depth and insight into human behavior.

These graphic novels are about life in a poor New York neighborhood starting near the Depression and going to more recent times.  It describes the life of poor migrants to America; their dreams, their lives, and how they escape the squalor of their world.

I am struck by the depth and force of some of the stories. A few stories in the first book were very hard-hitting and thought provoking. I stopped reading after a few stories because there was so much to mull about. It is a rare book which has this level of insight coupled with such beautiful art.

These books are not for children, though they may be okay for teenagers. They have plentiful sex and nudity, putting the "graphic" back in "graphic novel". Use your own discretion if you have children or teenagers around or are squeamish about sex.

The book can be ordered from online stores. Amazon has a hardbound copy for $20 which is a steal.

When Boston Brahmins were hoping that American classical would improve upon European Continental music, Jazz was busy changing the music world. In much the same way, Will Eisner's graphic novel is the epitome of American graphic art.

Completely out of the blue, it defined the graphic novel genre and gave readers and future novelists something original and beautiful.