The book, set in a world where animals can talk, chronicles the plight of the furry and feathered souls who chafe under the cruel hand of human dominion. The judges praised “Duncan” as a “powerful, prodigious work about the question of who the world belongs to, with an incredibly strong, original visual and narrative aesthetic.”
The judges also wrote: “It’s Adam Hines’ first book, and he’s come charging out of the gate, to use one of those animal metaphors that seem very different after you’ve read it. It’s aflame with the heat of its own inventiveness, hilarity, terror and ingenious world-building. But it also demands and rewards slow, careful reading — on every page, story and style echo each other, and the collision of incompatible worldviews is both the core of the book’s thesis and the engine of its spectacle.”
Hines, 27, accepted the award Friday night at a ceremony at the Chandler Auditorium at the Los Angeles Times.
“I started working on this book back in 2002 when I was 18, and only just finished last March, and that’s a long time to work on something that you don’t know will be of any good use to anyone,” Hines told the audience, which included other nominated authors such as Tom Franklin, Patti Smith and Peter Bognanni. “I’m appreciative of this as a token that — at least according to the people who decide the L.A. Times Book Prizes — it’s at least OK.”
The book is the first installment in what Hines plans will be a nine-volume epic. At the awards reception, Hines said he is working on the second book, and he expects the series will be his life’s work. “I’ll be working on these books,” he said, “until I’m 70.”
The other finalists in the category were “BodyWorld” by Dash Shaw; “The Lodger” by Karl Stevens; “You’ll Never Know, Book II: Collateral Damage” by C. Tyler; and “Weathercraft” by Jim Woodring. Hines is only the second winner in the graphic novel category, which was introduced last year. You can read more about “Duncan” in our Q&A with Hines.
– Noelene Clark
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