Book Review: Jimmy Corrigan

Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware, published by Random House, 2003. Paperback, 380 pages. (Amazon)

In a graphic novel originally published in 2000 and started seven years previous, author Ware tells the story of four generations of Corrigan men, focusing on the title character in the present day and his grandfather - also Jimmy - at the time of the World's Fair in Chicago circa 1893. The intertwining narratives trace similarities between the two melancholy figures, primarily through their relationships with their fathers, of which the modern-day Jimmy meets his own for the first time at the age of 36. Corrigan's journey to meet his father also takes us into his mind, a place he is much more at home in than the world around him, much like his grandfather. Throughout the book, these themes of isolation, detachment and fantasy are woven together through Ware's wonderful, iconic illustrations where words are sparse and secondary to the images.