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A man's arrogance and ambition collide with fraught politics and revolutionary zeal in a visually groundbreaking graphic novel.
In this graphic novel, more in love with the alluring properties of cement than he is with his girlfriend, Frunz’s overriding ambition is to become the next legendary architect. If only life was that simple. His father, known as Mr. Cement, is a builder in bed with the autocrats who run Yerevan, the capital of post-Soviet Armenia. As father and son team up to transform the city into a post-modern mecca of Trumpian high-rises, outraged citizens rise up in Revolution against them and Yerevan’s corrupt regime.
About the Author
VIKEN BERBERIAN is a novelist and short story writer whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Review of Books, The Believer, Bomb, and The Financial Times. He is the author of the novels The Cyclist (Simon & Schuster, Diable Vauvert, Houtkiet, Modan, Minimum Fax), and Das Kapital: A Novel of Love and Money Markets (Simon & Schuster, Editions Gallmeister). He lives in France.
YANN KEBBI is a painter and illustrator whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Guardian, and The Washington Post. He lives in Armenia.
Kebbi's outlandish, raw colored-pencil art [is a perfect match for] Berberian’s sardonic voice and apocalyptic sense of humor. This bizarre art-comic will tickle intellectual funny bones.
Berberian’s writing is propelled by artist Kebbi’s color pencil art, which embraces the chaotic narrative fully. Smart and wild in equal measure, The Structure Is Rotten, Comrade is excellent reading.
Kebbi renders a violently chaotic world consisting entirely of colored pencil lines charged with gestural energy.
Revolts—against subjugation, occupation, blind entitlement, utter greed—burst forth with much force, a vital reminder that revolution cannot be contained on the page.
This book is spellbinding for its art and fast pace. If you liked Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, you should peruse The Structure Is Rotten, Comrade.
... a painfully beautiful book both visually and prosaically. In this groundbreaking graphic novel, the grand ambitions of the individual collide with the chaos of revolution.
Viken Berberian brings his trademark political acuity to his new graphic novel, illustrated by Yann Kebbi.
A delight visually, Comrade is ultimately a critique of both corruption and capitalism. Few graphic novels have taken on so many issues with quite so much verve.
A graphic satire on rebuilding Yerevan ... Berberian and Kebbi’s book is ultimately an homage to revolt against those rotten structures imposed from above, and not only by architects.
Exploring architecture and gentrification as inherently political topics, this exquisitely-illustrated book has much to say about damn near everything, yet never feels like a treatise or lecture. There’s nothing rotten about it at all, comrade.
'Honorable Mention' for the best graphic novels, memoirs and story collections of 2019
— Michael Cavna
Considerable talents... The Structure is Rotten, Comrade takes an acerbic look at the myth of progress.
Satirical and funny, this surrealist graphic novel explores the connections between culture, memory and architecture.
"The Structure is Rotten, Comrade is a painfully beautiful book, throwing in our face some of the saddest human truths.
— Etgar Keret, The Seven Good Years
Frunz's love of cement is contagious.
— Leanne Shapton, Swimming Studies