The Venice Chronicles
A Review by Katie Riley
The Venice Chronicles, a self proclaimed travelogue in pencil, watercolor and varying shades of silliness, is all that it promises. Written and drawn by Enrico Casarosa, this amusing travelogue gives us all the flavor, geography, and romance one would expect from a trip to Venice.
The novel itself is a hybrid of comic strip, diary, sketch book, and effortlessly ranges between formats. While it's loosely organized into chapters like a book, it lacks page numbers like a sketch book. The comic strip format advances the narrative, but absent rigid borders and speech balloons. Overall it's bound by Enrico's self-deprecating humor, storytelling, and self-exploration.
The instrument of Enrico's self-deprecating humor is his own warring conscious depicted by the traditional angel and devil, but nontraditionally illustrated. While the Angel is nude and adorned with a gold halo, he is by no means cherubic. He has "bits and pieces" and a 5 O'clock shadow that you don't find on your every day cherub. On the other hand, the Devil is depicted in a t-shirt, jeans, and sneakers, and a tell-tale red hat. These two are my favorite characters as they push and pull the plot along.
The plot is very simple, but what can you expect from a travelogue? Like the other elements of the novel, it follows a nonlinear time. He takes a trip to Venice with a girl. And she happens to be his girlfriend. They enjoy Venice. And there is a 'big reveal' at the end.
But, the point of the travelogue isn't about plot, but of exploration of self and country. This travelogue does just this, and truly pokes fun at all aspects of itself. Enrico struggles with the dilemma between "returning later" and "recording live" for the travelogue, a conflict of heart for any artist who wants to capture every moment. Illustrating this is one of the travelogue's more silly moments where Enrico attempts to draw himself playing tennis and playing tennis at the same time.
Enrico even takes a moment to poke fun at his own "freedom of layout" for one page in chapter four where it's humorously and quickly explored and then abandoned.
And for Venice, this is like stepping into the streets itself. The fun, the friends, and the dinners are delicious. Laid out on splash pages the cityscapes are vibrant. The moonrises are subdued and romantic. The countryside is lined by brick walls and olive groves. The museums and the drinks (I'm craving a taste of the famous "The Spritz") are explored. This is what a trip to Venice should be.
Take a Look Inside
The Venice Chronicles - a travelogue in pencil, watercolor and varying shades of silliness. Hardcover,144 full-color pages, by Pixar artist Enrico Casarosa. Take a stroll through the side streets and canals of Venice in this colorful graphic novel, meeting at the intersection between Carnet De Voyage and Love Story.
4C cover | 144 4C pages | 6.25" x 8.25" HC
$19.95 US funds | ISBN 978-0-9818455-0-0
Shipped November 2008
Diamond Order Number: SEP08 3685
Katie Riley - Primarily a competitor in the sport of Eventing with her thoroughbred Harry, Katie can usually be found in the barn. She also loves great art and a great story, especially when the two are combined.
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