Heads or Tails
The creator of 2008’s acclaimed graphic novel The Lagoon named to many annual critics lists including Publishers Weekly and USA Today’s Pop Candy is back with a stunningly designed and packaged collection of some of the most poetic and confident short fiction being produced in comics today. Carré’s elegant short stories read like the gothic, family narratives of Flannery O’Connor or Carson McCullers, but told visually. Poetic rhythms — a coin flip, a circling ferris wheel — are punctuated by elements of melancholy fantasy pushed forward by character-driven, naturalistic dialogue. The stories in Heads Or Tails display a virtuosic breadth of visual styles and color palettes, each in perfect service of the story, and range from experimental one-pagers to short masterpieces like The Thing About Madeline (featured in The Best American Comics 2008), to graphic novellas like The Carnival (featured in David Sedaris and Dave Eggers’ 2010 Best American Nonrequired Reading, originally published in MOME).

Heads or Tails Details

TitleHeads or Tails
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 4th, 2015
PublisherFantagraphics
ISBN-139781606995976
Rating
GenreSequential Art, Graphic Novels, Comics, Short Stories, Fiction, Graphic Novels Comics

Heads or Tails Review

  • Nat
    January 1, 1970
    Carré’s elegant short stories read like the gothic, family narratives of Flannery O’Connor or Carson McCullers, but told visually. Poetic rhythms — a coin flip, a circling ferris wheel — are punctuated by elements of melancholy fantasy pushed forward by character-driven, naturalistic dialogue.I've been eyeing this illustrated collection full of short stories ever since I read a similar book titled: How To Be Happy by Eleanor Davis. But unlike the aforementioned, Carré’s visually stunning art nev Carré’s elegant short stories read like the gothic, family narratives of Flannery O’Connor or Carson McCullers, but told visually. Poetic rhythms — a coin flip, a circling ferris wheel — are punctuated by elements of melancholy fantasy pushed forward by character-driven, naturalistic dialogue.I've been eyeing this illustrated collection full of short stories ever since I read a similar book titled: How To Be Happy by Eleanor Davis. But unlike the aforementioned, Carré’s visually stunning art never falters. The color pallets in particular stand out the most here when you turn from page to page. The sole act of flipping through this was a joy to experience.Heads or Tails tells of strange tales and ideas about the world and humans. From a competition judge that is involved in a car accident and loses his taste for opinionated pieces to a woman encountering versions of herself through her routine-like day. “The lifestyle of shadowing herself was exhausting.” To a short story of rain dropping from the ceiling and flooding the apartment.These nuanced and melancholy pieces are guaranteed to leave you thinking on life and all its aspects while leaving no emotion unexpressed.Here are some of my favorite illustrations: Ultimately, Heads or Tails is a beautifully written, heartfelt, and deeply illuminating collection. Note: I'm an Amazon Affiliate. If you're interested in buying Heads or Tails, just click on the image below to go through my link. I'll make a small commission! Support creators you love. Buy a Coffee for nat (bookspoils) with Ko-fi.com/bookspoils
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  • Dov Zeller
    January 1, 1970
    Strange, beautiful, dreamlike, theme-like, mazed and melancholy, some magical realism, and, as one Goodreads reviewer says, "an elegant sense of design." I loved this collection and look forward to reading more of her work.
  • Krista Regester
    January 1, 1970
    Each page was different than the last. Lilli Carre has a wild imagination and her format for transferring her thoughts onto page are inspiring.
  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    Lilli Carre is something special. Her graphic stories ooze charm and whimsy, but in a way so they never feel contrived or false. My favorites by far in this collection are "The Carnival" and "Too Hot to Sleep." The former is filled with arresting images, not the the least of which includes a windswept woman in a polka dot dress, a boy with a hair full of moths, and an ever-present, expressionless stuffed cow. The latter is great too in terms of its unforgettable and striking illustrations: a boy Lilli Carre is something special. Her graphic stories ooze charm and whimsy, but in a way so they never feel contrived or false. My favorites by far in this collection are "The Carnival" and "Too Hot to Sleep." The former is filled with arresting images, not the the least of which includes a windswept woman in a polka dot dress, a boy with a hair full of moths, and an ever-present, expressionless stuffed cow. The latter is great too in terms of its unforgettable and striking illustrations: a boy holding a dead fish's lips up to his ear, a girl at a mirrored vanity with sunburned legs save for the reminders of seashore souvenirs. "The Thing About Madeleine" (which was one of the best things about Best American Comics 2008) and the short-short "Marching Band" are standouts too, but so is most every other story in the volume. Carre's style is diverse but at the same time remains recognizable as her own.
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  • Vanessa (splitreads)
    January 1, 1970
    3.5. So imaginative and unusual, in a good way. I loved the dreamlike feeling of the short stories and the eccentric art. My favorite stories/strips were Wishy Washy, Rainbow Moment, and Stress Orchestra.
  • Nicole
    January 1, 1970
    Imaginative and creative. Loved how the drawiing style for each short story is different.
  • lucy black
    January 1, 1970
    I found this disappointing. I really liked her other books but this one felt shallow. It was too whimsical and dreamy. Each story was too short for the reader to engage with the characters and the characters were all pretty stereotypical and unlikeable.
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  • Steve Hersh
    January 1, 1970
    Lilli Carre's artwork is fantastic. It will appeal to fans of modernist cartoons done in the limited animation style pioneered by the UPA studio. The stories are strong, and in some sense, magical realist. They remind me of a Michel Gondry movie. I loved this book.
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  • Maca Duque
    January 1, 1970
    Es una genia.
  • Kevin Fanning
    January 1, 1970
    This was great and the next time I have the book in front of me I will list here which stories were my favorites.OK. Overall loved everything here, love her storytelling style so much. Kind of like illustrated dreams, but grounded in reality just enough to give you a real punch in the gut, emotionally speaking. Personally enjoyed the longer stories in the front half of the book to the smaller/shorter pieces in the back.The Thing About Madeline - A woman realizes she is a doppleganger in her own This was great and the next time I have the book in front of me I will list here which stories were my favorites.OK. Overall loved everything here, love her storytelling style so much. Kind of like illustrated dreams, but grounded in reality just enough to give you a real punch in the gut, emotionally speaking. Personally enjoyed the longer stories in the front half of the book to the smaller/shorter pieces in the back.The Thing About Madeline - A woman realizes she is a doppleganger in her own life, spies on herself from the bushes, starts a new life in another town.The Carnival - a man's house is flooding, so he drives away in the middle of the night, gets stuck on the top of a ferris wheelRainbow Moment - a series of tangentially connected stories within stories about an upside-down woman and a bat and a bookstoreThese brief descriptions don't do any kind of justice to the stories, they're original and breath-taking and weird but also so emotionally resonant. Reminded me/made me sad for a time in life when my writing was more fearless.
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  • Jeff
    January 1, 1970
    This is a great collection of the whimsical work of Lilli Carré, a talented contemporary cartoonist who isn't afraid to be twee, charming, or downright inscrutable when it suits her needs. Many of these individual pieces have been previously published, but it's still a joy to have them brought together in a single volume where readers can immerse themselves in Carré's strange and wonderful world. Highly recommended if you like idiosyncratic art comics heavily imbued with a sense of adventure and This is a great collection of the whimsical work of Lilli Carré, a talented contemporary cartoonist who isn't afraid to be twee, charming, or downright inscrutable when it suits her needs. Many of these individual pieces have been previously published, but it's still a joy to have them brought together in a single volume where readers can immerse themselves in Carré's strange and wonderful world. Highly recommended if you like idiosyncratic art comics heavily imbued with a sense of adventure and fun.
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  • Linda Robinson
    January 1, 1970
    The longer stories made me a little queasy. Long limbs, odd heads, Daliesque storytelling. The Thing About Madeline is terrific, and Carre's short bits at the back are wonderful, too. I especially liked My Night Dance and Stress Orchestra. The book is designed by Carre, and the color palette is a combination of 50s paint chips and muted Ikea, separated by well-done grayscale. The best, the best begins "As I was working, the refrigerator abruptly stopped humming..." And the last few pages. Sublim The longer stories made me a little queasy. Long limbs, odd heads, Daliesque storytelling. The Thing About Madeline is terrific, and Carre's short bits at the back are wonderful, too. I especially liked My Night Dance and Stress Orchestra. The book is designed by Carre, and the color palette is a combination of 50s paint chips and muted Ikea, separated by well-done grayscale. The best, the best begins "As I was working, the refrigerator abruptly stopped humming..." And the last few pages. Sublime.
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  • Andrew
    January 1, 1970
    A series of surreal-ish stories based loosely around themes of contradictions and indecision. Keeping with the theme of indecision, I wavered between 3 and 4 stars on this one. The longer pieces ("Carnival," "The Thing About Madeline," "The Rainbow Moment") are wonderful. They employ dream-logic and creative visual storytelling to accurately capture emotional states. The shorter pieces, however, suffer from a surfeit of cuteness that made my teeth hurt.
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  • Stewart Tame
    January 1, 1970
    Make no mistake: these are art comics. Surreal things happen. Figures morph and twist. That said, there's an elegant sense of design and color at work here. There's a quiet, haunting beauty to some of these stories that is unforgettable.
  • juicy brained intellectual
    January 1, 1970
    carré's illustrations are charming and her writing is engaging, funny, and positively strange. 'the thing about madeline' is jacksonian (shirley) and hit all the right notes, and even though i borrowed the book from library i feel like i need to buy it now.
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  • First Second Books
    January 1, 1970
    Lilli Carre has a new short story collection, and it is excellent. Her art is gorgeous and so is her storytelling – everything just all feels like it fits together in a wonderful magical realistic sort of way of strangeness. My favorite? The story about the girl’s shadow who became a girl.
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  • Gabrielle
    January 1, 1970
    Incredibly gorgeous illustrations. With some super sweet and thoughtful moments about memories, insight into yourself and general surrealism. But I have a strong preference for a single story rather than collections of pieces that have appeared elsewhere.
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  • Jessica
    January 1, 1970
    I love everything by Lilli Carre. Her artwork is thoughtful and her stories are like the craziest dreams you've ever had.
  • David Schaafsma
    January 1, 1970
    Whimsical, sweet, colorful, sometimes surreal, quirky… some short stories and a collection of tidbits/sketches. Pretty wonderful stuff, really!
  • Robert
    January 1, 1970
    I wrote a review of this fine book for The Comics Journal online: http://www.tcj.com/reviews/heads-or-t...
  • Meghan
    January 1, 1970
    Short stories in comics form - she definitely has her own voice, and I liked the colors in this. The stories sometimes reminded me of very early Lynda Barry.
  • Sally Anne
    January 1, 1970
    Literature and graphic novel at the same time!
  • BunnyDumpling
    January 1, 1970
    Especially liked Rainbow Moment and The Flip.
  • The_Mad_Swede
    January 1, 1970
    I had not even heard of Lilli Carré before picking up this book of short format comics pieces (of varying lengths) at the library, and I am not entirely certain what attracted me to it in the first place. It certainly cannot have been the cover, which I do not actually find particularly appealing (or presenting Carré's brilliance adequately to potential readers). Regardless, however, I am immensely glad for whatever spur-of-the-moment made me take this book home, because - WOW! Just, simply wow! I had not even heard of Lilli Carré before picking up this book of short format comics pieces (of varying lengths) at the library, and I am not entirely certain what attracted me to it in the first place. It certainly cannot have been the cover, which I do not actually find particularly appealing (or presenting Carré's brilliance adequately to potential readers). Regardless, however, I am immensely glad for whatever spur-of-the-moment made me take this book home, because - WOW! Just, simply wow!The volume collects eight short pieces ("Kingdom", "Wishy Washy", "Into the Night", "The Thing About Madeline", "The Carnival", "Too Hot to Sleep", "Rainbow Moment", and "The Flip" (Pt. 1 and Pt. 2), the latter of which frames the section "Short Bits: A Collection of Shorter Pieces", which, as the name suggests, contains really short pieces, often along the lines of one or two pages.Content-wise, Carré moves between the surreal and dreamlike, the fantastic and the somewhat mundane, the (for the want of a better word right now) "literary" and purely visual storytelling; and it strikes home for me.As (almost) always with collections, not every piece is as masterful as the next, and pieces like The Thing About Madeline", which is a delightful piece of weird fiction, involving doppelganger motifs and questions of identity, and "Rainbow Moment", with its brilliant narrative structure and use of colours to designate narrative layers, certainly stand out along with a few other pieces. I definitely prefer the longer ones, leaving me a little less taken with the "Short Bits" section; but even the latter is mostly interesting in terms of ideas, themes and execution nonetheless.I find many of the stories quite sublime and definite five stars worthy pieces, while others may not be quite as strong, but still along a strong four stars spectrum. Tallying the number, I easily round off upwards here, and warmly recommend this book. Personally, I will be checking out other things by Carré in the (hopefully not too distant) future.
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  • Hans
    January 1, 1970
    Lilli Carré provides delight after delight in this compilation of her shorter works. Many pieces had subtle twists or notes that stopped me in my tracks, so that I would go back and start from the beginning refocused on different themes or elements. More specifically, in the volume opener "Kingdom," Carré works out a "simple" conceit that is obvious after seeing a couple full-page panels. This "simple" work really drew me into considerations of the multiple meanings: a life's journey, settling d Lilli Carré provides delight after delight in this compilation of her shorter works. Many pieces had subtle twists or notes that stopped me in my tracks, so that I would go back and start from the beginning refocused on different themes or elements. More specifically, in the volume opener "Kingdom," Carré works out a "simple" conceit that is obvious after seeing a couple full-page panels. This "simple" work really drew me into considerations of the multiple meanings: a life's journey, settling down, hoarding, aging, etc. In one case ("Carnival"), I finished the story and immediately flipped back to the start where the story continued - a Möbius comic strip. (Also fun to be reminded that Lilli Carré was a contributor to The Believer magazine.)
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  • Leah
    January 1, 1970
    This collection of stories and comics was very refreshing. It was abstract, creative, dreamlike, eccentric, hard-hitting, and so much more. There were many moments where I was completely shocked with how a story ended or left off. My favorites of the collection were Wishy Washy, The Thing About Madeline, Rainbow Moment, and the Short Bits section. The illustrations were superb and the color choices were extra entertaining. I would recommend this collection to anyone hoping for stories that strec This collection of stories and comics was very refreshing. It was abstract, creative, dreamlike, eccentric, hard-hitting, and so much more. There were many moments where I was completely shocked with how a story ended or left off. My favorites of the collection were Wishy Washy, The Thing About Madeline, Rainbow Moment, and the Short Bits section. The illustrations were superb and the color choices were extra entertaining. I would recommend this collection to anyone hoping for stories that strectch your thinking and don't necessarily take a lot of effort to unpack.
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  • Felipe Assis
    January 1, 1970
    Após terminar de ler o segundo conto percebi algumas coisas que me soaram familiares, a primeira foi o traço que é muito parecido com o da Eleanor Davis; continuei achando que haveria algo mais, li mais um conto e conclui que o clima familiar que estava sentindo vinha dos contos de ninguém mais, ninguém menos que Júlio Cortázar, pesquisei e constatei que a autora é uma grande fã do Borges e do Próprio Cortázar. Agora pense: a autora é super talentosa e ainda por cima tem quase que um passe dos c Após terminar de ler o segundo conto percebi algumas coisas que me soaram familiares, a primeira foi o traço que é muito parecido com o da Eleanor Davis; continuei achando que haveria algo mais, li mais um conto e conclui que o clima familiar que estava sentindo vinha dos contos de ninguém mais, ninguém menos que Júlio Cortázar, pesquisei e constatei que a autora é uma grande fã do Borges e do Próprio Cortázar. Agora pense: a autora é super talentosa e ainda por cima tem quase que um passe dos contistas argentinos, porra, hq espetacular."
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  • Malcolm
    January 1, 1970
    About halfway through, I found the genius in these stories. "The Flip" is six pages of unrelenting genius. That story alone is worth the price of admission. Excellent chapters such as The Carnival and The Thing About Madeline only add to the value. The graphic style is flat and unobtrusive. Perfect for the stories she tells.
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  • Emily
    January 1, 1970
    Lilli Carré's short stories are beautiful, wistful, and odd. The art is stylized and subtle and the text reads like poetry. The standout for me is the story "Rainbow Moment," which nests stories within stories like a Matryoshka doll, using color to set a different mood and feeling for each one. Very dreamlike.
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  • Kenny Oravetz
    January 1, 1970
    An inventive but ultimately inconsistent collection of Carre's poetic, and often surreal, takes on modern life, admirably and often poignantly experimenting with a sizable array of formal techniques wed to the graphic medium.
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