Daily Graphic Novel Recommendation 205

Venice: A Louis Vuitton Travel Book

by Jiro Taniguchi
Genre notes: travel log, wistful discovery of family history
128 pages
ISBN: 1912097044 (Amazon)

So Louis Vuitton hires these artists to do travel books for them, basically a carnet de voyage. They'll get ahold of an artist and send him or her to a location they've never been before and the get back a book of paintings of that place, which they'll then publish in a pricey little art book. Lovely stuff, nice for coffee tables. They tapped Taniguchi for the series a number of years ago and as Taniguchi does, he turned it into a narrative about, surprise, a man wandering around Venice taking in the sights.

Here's a 4-minute video of Taniguchi talking about the project:

The frame is that the man found among his deceased mother's things a lacquer box filled with photos and some small watercolours from Venice a long time ago. In the photos are a young woman (his grandmother?) and a child (his mother?), and occasionally, a young man (his grandfather?). As he travels around Venice he tries to match up locations with the photos and the watercolours—and along the way hopes to get some better sense of his family and their history. The narrative is slight but affecting. The real draw, however, is Taniguchi's gorgeous paintings of the city. Some are good, some are beautiful, and some are awestriking.

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