Peter Kuper, 1958-

Book - 2015

"Samantha and George are a couple heading towards a sabbatical year in the quaint Mexican town of Oaxaca. For Samantha, it is the opportunity to revisit her past. For George, it is an unsettling step into the unknown. For both of them, it will be a collision course with political and personal events that will alter their paths and the town of Oaxaca forever. In tandem, the remarkable and arduous journey that a monarch butterfly endures on its annual migration from Canada to Mexico is woven into Ruins. This creates a parallel picture of the challenges of survival in our ever-changing world. Ruins explores the shadows and light of Mexico through its past and present as encountered by an array of characters. The real and surreal interming...le to paint an unforgettable portrait of life south of the Rio Grande" --

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Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor Comics GRAPHIC NOVEL/Kuper Checked In
Graphic novels
Comics (Graphic works)
London : SelfMadeHero 2015
Main Author
Peter Kuper, 1958- (-)
Physical Description
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 28 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

*Starred Review* The stages of a monarch butterfly's long journey from its chrysalis in Canada all the way to Oaxaca introduce the chapters of Kuper's story of a marriage in metamorphosis. Since George just lost his job, and they're not hurting for cash, he grumpily accompanies his wife on sabbatical in Oaxaca, where she plans to finish a book on her earlier Mexican sojourn, before she met him. She also wants to break down his resistance to a baby. He's really more disgruntled by having given up on both his art career and entomology, and so is his wife, for reasons that eventually crystallize. Wandering Oaxaca's city streets, he meets an American Mexican photojournalist; his wife, an English-speaking artist; and the pair of them, an English bookseller. Kuper and the photographer goad each other into documenting the annual Oaxacan teachers' strike against the corrupt state government, his wife and the native artist flirt, and the bookseller saves the Kupers from the crackdown on the strike. Personal courses are altered, Oaxacan history and customs sketched, and several interesting insects explained before the sabbatical ends. The principals, including the housemaid with whom George practices Spanish, are exceptionally well realized, not least by Kuper's strong-lined, expressively colorful artwork, and he manages the entire narrative superbly, letting it unfold impossibly casually in its deliriously luscious setting. Stunningly constructed and impeccably executed.--Olson, Ray Copyright 2015 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

This magnificent graphic novel by Kuper (The Metamorphosis, World War III) follows an American couple who decamp for Oaxaca, Mexico, for a sabbatical and creative recharge, only to get far more than they bargained for. Samantha is excited to find a new, quiet locale for writing her book while unemployed painter George can barely contain his anxiety. Meanwhile, a wordless parallel story follows a monarch butterfly on its lengthy journey south from the U.S. to Mexico. The pairing somehow works, though the elegant, aching beauty of the endangered butterfly's symbolic flight over a series of woeful disasters-from farm worker inequality to the devastation of post-Katrina New Orleans-can't help but overshadow Samantha and George's more mundane story, even after they're caught up in political unrest and the temptation of adultery. Partly autobiographical, Ruins was inspired by two years Kuper and his family spent in Oaxaca during the long, bloody teachers' strike of 2006, during which police killed several protesters and a U.S. journalist. Richly illuminated by Kuper's trademark light touch with relationships and steely political acumen, it's a beautiful, epic roman à clef about the importance of seeking the new and questioning the old. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review

With Ruins, writer/artist Kuper weaves a multilayered story about life that is steeped in history, art, entomology, and human emotion. George and Samantha depart from New York to Oaxaca, Mexico, while Samantha is on sabbatical so she can finish writing her memoir and artist George can perhaps find inspiration. When they arrive, the Oaxacan state is in the beginning stages of political unrest owing to the ascension of a corrupt governor. As the two wrestle with the turmoil around them, as well as the disorder of their own lives and marriage, the theme of the cyclical nature of life and history becomes apparent. Kuper encapsulates this with the metaphor of a monarch butterfly, whose wordless journey is depicted step by step from New York to Oaxaca in small interludes among the main chapters and later forms one of the most awe-inspiring moments for both protagonists. Verdict Kuper's evocative artwork captures the heartbreaking events that occurred in Mexico in 2006 under the regime of Gov. Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, and his narrative blends the above mentioned elements into a seamlessly poignant piece about the inescapable revolutions of existence. As a work with strong visual narratives, Ruins is a valuable addition to any graphic fiction collection.-Alger C. Newberry III, Genesee Dist. Lib., Flint, MI © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.