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An art work that wanted to be read

Kari by Amruta Patil is a pretty book with more than quite a few delightful frames of artwork, writes Ishan Chaudhuri.

india Updated: Mar 03, 2008 19:56 IST
Ishan Chaudhuri

Words for art's sake
Kari
Amruta Patil
HARPERCOLLINS
Rs 295, PP 116

The engine of the graphic novel, like that of the non-graphic novel, is the narration.

This narration can take up various forms - with plots, without plots, amorphous entities that build on sheer atmosphere, or even dialogues that give the narration a conversational edge.

Kari by Amruta Patil is a pretty book with more than quite a few delightful frames of artwork. But what it isn't is a graphic novel. This is not about being churlish about categories; it's about reading a book and being disappointed reading it.

The protagonist, Kari, is a brooding, angry young woman who works in an ad firm and whose life among (and away from) her flatmates captures the ‘Single in the City' equivalent of living in the big beast that is Bombay Strange attractions are part of the ‘story' as.

Patil moves from one segment of Kari's life to another in a mix of associations, reveries and blog-like commentaries. She furiously nods her head to artists like Klimt, Cezanne and, as a centrefold, Leonardo (The Last Supper).

But in the end, the narration is clunky , the atmosphere half-baked. This book may have been saved by an editor. The language is plain pretentious. And potted plants can only double, not "double up", as ashtrays (pg 17). Not even in existential graphic novels, I'm afraid.