or Asomatognosia: Whose Hand is it Anyway?
Where do I begin?
At nearly 600 pages, Anders Nilsen's Big Questions is easily the biggest books I have ever read.
It is definitely the most graphic novel I've ever held. It's dwarfed by few other comics, and yet may still be read in one evening. What dialogue there is is sparse; its pages are mostly pictures. This book is so huge, you could hurt someone with it or use it to prop a door. The catch is positioning the thing in such a way so as to avoid discomfort. I suggest a pillow.
Well, what's it about?
Birds, mostly. Finches, ravens, an owl. What about the turkeys? Sorry, no turkeys. But there is a snake, a plane, a pilot, an old woman, a halfwit, ghosts, dreams, death, a stream.
Most of the characters are finches. There's a lot of 'em and they all look alike. Thankfully, there's a guide which tells who's who amongst this critter collective. Much like we humans do in real life, the finches in this story band together into opposing factions in order to come to terms with forces operating outside of their control. By nature, this process necessitates the asking of some big questions. Unfortunately there are some ravens which pose a further hindrance for these hapless finches.
This book reads very quickly. And the story moves along at such a pace to make you want to read it all. I won't tell you how it plays out so you'll have to find that out for yourself.
Big Questions is truly a labor of love. The art is exquisite: playful yet evocative, simply laid out enough to convey an elegant complexity. Nilsen began the doodles that would become this tome in 1996, at a retreat at the D.H. Lawrence Ranch in Taos, New Mexico. The doodles became a zine. People liked reading about these funny little birds so the one zine became many. This was the first visual story he had begun. In 2011 he completed Big Questions, after having published a number of other works.
This book is epic.