Good-Bye Chunky Rice HC Craig Thompson Habibi Blankets Top Shelf


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Good-bye, Chunky Rice Hardcover
by Craig Thompson (Author)

This here be the first ever “graphical novel book” by Craig Thompson. It was winnning a Harvey Award, no less. It documentates the once upon a time in our fishing village town and a short turtle lad name of Chunky, last name Rice.

Mister Chunky Rice be living in the same rooming house likewise myself, only that boy be restless. Looking for something. And he puts hisself on my brother Chuck’s ship and boats out to sea to find it. Only he be departin’ from his bestest of all friends, his deer mouse, I mean, mouse deer chum Dandel.

Now why in a whirl would someone leave beyond a buddy? Just what be that turtle lad searchings for? I said you best read the book to find out. Merle said, “Doot doot.”

Hardcover: 128 pages
Publisher: Top Shelf

When you take a look at ‘Good-bye, Chunky Rice’ with it’s almost comical style of illustrations and cute, talking animal characters, for the first time, you will be almost duped into believing that this is a children’s book and give it a pass; this nearly happened for me. After reading through a few pages, I was so engrossed in this tale of friendship, loss and longing for lost companions in life, that I sat still for a long time after finishing the book contemplating and choking over emotions that the book evoked in me.

‘Good-bye, Chunky Rice’, written in 1999 is the debut graphic novel by Craig Thompson which won him the Harvey Award for Best New Talent in 2000. The book revolves around the story of the friendship and angst over separation – most probably of lost love too, from some of the hints given by the illustrator we can assume they were lovers too – between Chuncky Rice, a small turtle and Dandel, a deer mouse – two of the cutest graphic novel characters I have ever encountered – while interspersing their tale with similar experiences over the pangs of loss by other characters – like Solomon, the human roommate of Chunky who has his own troubling memories over his childhood companions and loss of his pet dog ; Charles, the boat captain who has his own burdens of past – to create a moving narration.

At the beginning of the graphic novel we meet Chuncky Rice, who is inspired by a desire to travel to unknown territories, preparing for a journey, which will take him to the next phase in his life. Leaving his friend Dandel behind Chunky Rice takes passage on a small boat in a voyage to new pastures while Craig Thompson creates a stylish narration permeating with emotions of loss and longing. While Chunky Rice meets other characters with their own tales of loss and sadness, back home Dandel find solace over her loss of Chunky Rice in writing one bottled message after another and floating them in ocean.

The artwork and illustration by Craig Thompson are fascinating with brilliant uses of black and white strokes intertwined with clever use of grays to create shadows of memories. The dialogs are few but the varying dialects given to the characters give a certain amount of life for them and the story takes place through narrations of events from past and present, which undulates, like a choppy ocean. This is a rare case in which a book emotionally connects with the reader while being purposefully concise – there are no elaborated plots, no in-depth characterization or a definite conclusion here, yet the graphic novel shines through the sheer amount of poignancy it exudes through brilliant artwork and clever narration.

It is no wonder that the great Alan Moore was all praises for ‘Good-bye, Chunky Rice’.

“Both funny and genuinely touching in turn, Craig Thompson’s Good-bye Chunky Rice is an affecting meditation upon friendship, loneliness, and loss, all delivered with a real feel for the musicality of the comic strip form. This work sings and dances, and you could do a lot worse than to sing and dance along with it. Highly recommended.”

Anyone who has ever known the spasms of separation, the floods of emotion over losing one’s best friend or constant companion, the choking feeling over a missing loved one – either through tragedy or by choice – will find ‘Good-bye, Chunky Rice’ like a bittersweet candy. This is a charming and emotional graphic novel, which I will recommend for readers of all age groups. Even if you think reading a graphic novel is not a mature vocation, give it a try, as this much dosage of feelings cannot be bottled in to so concise a form in no other medium of art. It will take not much time to finish and I am sure it will resonate within you a flood of emotions. This book features sewn-in binding.


Near mint condition.