Today is the Last Day...
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“Told with great confidence and uncomfortable frankness across a sprawling 450 pages, it is a coming-of-age narrative that inevitably places itself in the tradition of German travel literature, perhaps unwittingly joining the company of such august figures as Goethe and Hesse.” – Matthias Wivel, The Metabunker
Back in 1984, a rebellious, 17-year-old, punked-out Ulli Lust set out for a wild hitchhiking trip across Italy, from Naples through Verona and Rome and ending up in Sicily. Twenty-five years later, this talented Austrian cartoonist has looked back at that tumultuous summer and delivered a long, dense, sensitive, and minutely observed autobiographical masterpiece.
Miraculously combining a perfect memory for both emotional and physical detail with the sometimes painful lucidity two and half decades’ distance have brought to her understanding of the events, Lust meticulously shows the who, where, when, and how (specifically, how an often penniless young girl can survive for months on the road) of a sometimes dangerous and sometimes exhilarating journey. Particularly haunting is her portrait of her fellow traveler, the gangly, promiscuous devil-may-care Edi who veers from being her spunky, funny best friend in the world to an out-of-control lunatic with no consideration for anything but her own whims and desires.
Universally considered one of the very finest examples of the new breed of graphic novels coming from Europe, Today Is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life won the 2011 Angoulême “Revelation” prize, and Fantagraphics is proud to bring it to English speaking readers.
“Ulli Lust really nails my favorite part of storytelling. Bumming cigarettes, learning how to hitchhike — the small details that create great character.” – Jaime Hernandez
“A youthful-looking 40-something now living in Berlin, Ulli Lust claims to have learned 'more on the streets than in the books'... varying the rhythm and framing of her panels, populating them with her subtly stylized characters, she provides an unvarnished vision of male-female relations in which violence, drugs and sex perform a diabolical dance. And even though there are flashes of humor, this relentless story remains focused on the frustration of men and the pain of women.” – Le Monde
2013 Ignatz Award Winner: Outstanding Graphic Novel; Nominee: Outstanding Artist (Ulli Lust)
Winner, 2013 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Graphic Novels
2014 Eisner Award Nominee: Best U.S. Edition of International Material; BestReality-Based Work
Named to the The Cartoonist Studio Prize for Best Graphic Novel of the Year: 2013 Shortlist
One of Publishers Weekly's Best Books of 2013
Named one of 50 Essential Graphic Novels by AbeBooks
Ranked #4 (tie) on the Publishers Weekly Comics World 2013 Critics' Poll
Ranked #2 for 2013 by The Bristol Board
Ranked #9 on Fumettologica's Best of 2013
Ranked #7 on Rob Clough's Best of 2013: Top 25 Long-Form Comics at High-Low
One of Kelly Froh’s Best Comics of 2013 at the Atomic Books Blog
Originally published in June 2013
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“Lust embraces her past as a sort of rite of passage, one that was about living her life according to a certain aesthetic. Lust was after beauty above all else: the beauty of travel, the beauty of total freedom from expectations and consumer culture, the beauty of great cities, and the beauty within others. Even if that quest for the beauty in others resulted in a hideous confrontation with inner ugliness, it never dampened her resolve or her hopes to find that sense of beauty in the world, a quest that continues even today in her career as an artist. Lust may have lost her naivete in the course of the story, but she never lost her sense of wonder.”
•Publishing trade magazine
“With the punk phenomenon so often romanticized in popular culture, it can be easy to skew or forget the realities of the time. Not for Lust, though, who chronicles even the most unsavory details of a road trip she and unstable companion Enid took along the fringes of European society in 1984. Originally released almost a decade ago in German to international acclaim … Her recollections willfully expose the dark side of an anarchic lifestyle, yet are void of any didactic embellishment, and instead form a genuine and nonjudgmental look at aimless youth and rebellion. And what’s truer to punk than that?”
The Comics Journal
•American comics magazine
“Lust’s two-color cartooning throughout is simply outstanding. She demonstrates as much facility with character design and body language as she does rendering cityscapes, train stations, landmarks like Rome’s Spanish Steps, or the sweeping grandeur of the Italian countryside. The sheer amount of effort that went into each panel, each page, manifests the wide-ranging, richly detailed scope and nuance of the book. You sense that she wanted to leave absolutely nothing of the experience out. Still, there’s never a labored feel to her work – her line is smooth and fluid, with a delightfully expressive, even tossed off quality.”