I started reading "Building Stories" by Chris Ware back in October, but had to stop as it started to hit too close to home. I hesitate to call it a book as it is more of an overall experience, but in either regard it is one of the best I've come across; a completely immersive visual, tangible and emotional journey through the lives of several individuals who at one time lived in the same apartment. At one point, the narrative is even told from the perspective of the building itself.
The main protagonist is a former art student who struggled with the idiosyncrasies of the field, leaving it (and her talents) behind to lead an unfulfilled life of longing what could have been in regards to career, love and existence. As her life becomes punctuated by loss in numerous forms, the doubt over her choices - and boredom over modern suburban life - create an existential crisis that is palpable beyond the ink of its printed page. The entire 14-piece tome can be read in any order but I feel the path I selected (suggested on the back of the box) was the most powerful. Its been a few days since I finished and it's still resonating with me.
I was pleasantly surprised at how well Chris Ware wrote from a female perspective. There were times in which I felt he was telepathically peering into my head and translating my thoughts into his work (I was especially aware of this when the protagonist's father is diagnosed, and later succumbs to, cancer). Perhaps I need to read more graphic novels as "Ghost World" also did this acutely well. I predict "Building Stories" will eventually be made into a cult classic film like this. Shame there isn't a character Steve Buscemi could play.
I cannot recommend this book enough.