From one of the great comic innovators, the long-awaited fulfillment of a pioneering comic vision. Richard McGuire’s Here is the story of a corner of a room and of the events that have occurred in that space over the course of hundreds of thousands of years.
"In Here McGuire has introduced a third dimension to the flat page. He can poke holes in the space-time continuum simply by imposing frames that act as transtemporal windows into the larger frame that stands for the provisional now. Here is the comic-book equivalent of a scientific breakthrough. It is also a lovely evocation of the spirit of place, a family drama under the gaze of eternity and a ghost story in which all of us are enlisted to haunt and be haunted in turn.” —The New York Times Book Review
With full-color illustrations throughout
About the Author
Richard McGuire is a regular contributor to The New Yorker. His work has appeared in The New York Times, McSweeney’s, Le Monde, and Libération. He has written and directed for two omnibus feature films: Loulou et Autre Loups (Loulou and Other Wolves, 2003) and Peur(s) du Noir (Fear[s] of the Dark, 2007). He has also designed and manufactured his own line of toys, and he is the founder and bass player of the band Liquid Liquid. The six-page comic Here, which appeared in 1989 in Raw magazine, volume 2, number 1, was immediately recognized as a transformative work that would expand the possibilities of the comic medium. Its influence continues to be felt twenty-five years after its publication.
A New York Times Notable Book
Luc Sante, The New York Times Book Review “Brilliant and revolutionary…. In “Here,” McGuire has introduced a third dimension to the flat page. He can poke holes in the space-time continuum simply by imposing frames that act as transtemporal windows into the larger frame that stands for the provisional now. “Here” is the comic-book equivalent of a scientific breakthrough. It is also a lovely evocation of the spirit of place, a family drama under the gaze of eternity and a ghost story in which all of us are enlisted to haunt and be haunted in turn.”
Chris Ware, The Guardian “A book like this comes along once a decade, if not a century…. I guarantee that you’ll remember exactly where you are, or were, when you first read it.”
Jennifer Schuessler,The New York Times “Getting from here to there can be hard enough. But it has taken Richard McGuire 25 years to do something even more complicated: get form here to here….the book promises to leapfrog immediately to the front ranks of the graphic-novel genre.”
Etelka Lehoczky, npr.com “The magic of Here is that somehow, alchemically, this sparse little exercise begins to yank on your emotions. As your eye lurches around the page, as you flip back and forth between pages, an irresistible sentiment swells. Rare among conceptual works, Here manages to tug your heart even as it undercuts your comfortable role of reader.... Meanwhile, though, the past and present humans continue their tender little lives. Telling stories, playing, making love — what will be their fate? That’s just one of the countless questions Here leaves unanswered. Even so, it’s deeply satisfying. Kind of like a story that never ends.”
Marnie Kingsley, San Antonio Current “Imaginative and ingenious, Here transcends the canon of traditional graphic novels. McGuire discusses the inconsistencies of memory, a central theme of Speigelman’s Maus series. He readapts the labyrinthine quality of Alison Bechel’s Fun Home and focuses on the small moments of everyday experience, similar to parts of Craig Thompson’ autobiographical graphic novel Blankets. However, Here retains almost no qualities of a novel: It is non-linear, there are no distinct characters, apart from the space, and there is no plot. Despite these seemingly large hurdles, McGuire produces a reading experience that is emotional, thought-provoking and interactive.... A brisk and brilliant read, Here combines genres and styles in a meditation on impermanence and the processes of memory.” Financial Times “McGuire is able to wring a surprising array of emotions from simple lines and blocks of muted colour interspersed with deliberately hackneyed jokes and the uncanny wisdom of the everyday. And the non-chronological arrangement seems faithful to how consciousness really works, the way we shape and reshape the story of ourselves by editing and re-editing highlights from our lives. I found it compelling to shuttle around in time to discover how earlier events informed later ones. Midway through the book one character says to another: ‘Life has a flair for rhyming events.’ Clearly, McGuire does too.”
Straight.com “Even as the ground beneath your feet falls away, McGuire creates poetry out of the echoes that’s both playful and moving.”
Minneapolis Star Tribune “For the long-awaited book-length ‘Here,’ McGuire adds lavish color and some plot, but he preserves the captivating, uncanny sense of love, anger and tragedy flying across the centuries while staying in one place.” Dominicumile.com “A new, full-color graphic novel version of Here is stunning. Over more than three hundred pages, McGuire revisits and rebuilds his original strip with flashy interiors set in vivid pastels, and landscape sequences fleshed-out in moody watercolors, computer software-built textures, and sketchy pencil lines….. memorable and executed wonderfully”
Patrick Lohier, Boingboing.net “I soon found myself immersed and often moved. Here has the surprising depth as a magician’s top hat. The combination of the surreal and the nostalgic are mesmerizing. The book is an ingenious epic of time and space, and I think readers everywhere, and of many ages, will find it delightful.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review) “Expanding on an influential piece that first appeared in Raw in 1989, McGuire, best known for his illustrated children’s books, explores a single patch of land (apparently in Perth Amboy, N.J.) over the course of millions of years…. The flat, hard lines produce art that looks like an approximation of Edward Hopper’s clean bright paintings, created on an outdated computer program. McGuire threads miniplots and knowing references through his hopscotch narrative, building up a head of steam that’s almost overwhelmingly poignant. His masterful sense of time and the power of the mundane makes this feel like the graphic novel equivalent of Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review) “Later spreads flash with terrible and ancient supremacy, impending cataclysm, and distant, verdant renaissance, then slow to inevitable, irresistible conclusion. The muted colors and soft pencils further blur individual moments into a rich, eons-spanning whole. A gorgeous symphony.”
Booklist (starred review) “McGuire’s quiet artwork in a subdued full-color palette reveals nuanced gestures beautifully, sometimes with precise lines, others in sketchy sepia tones, all of which emphasize the passage of time. The concept is stunningly simple, and in laying bare the universality of existence—its beauty, ugliness, and mundanity—it is utterly moving.”
Coverage from NPR
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