“Lester employs similar techniques to those in his graphic novel, The Listener (Winnipeg: ARP, 2011), alternating between pen, acrylic, and watercolours to create evocative, expressionistic scenes interspersed with self-portraits as he recounts the story. The complex visuals and personal connection to the events make this one of the most affecting comics in the volume…” — Candida Rifkind, Associate Professor (Comics and Graphic Narrative, U. of Winnipeg), Labour / Le Travail, review of David Lester’s contribution to Drawn To Change: Graphic Histories of Working-Class Struggle (2017)

“The vibrancy of each comic is epitomized when there is a strong narrative to guide the history, such as with David Lester‘s The Battle of Ballantyne Pier, following the history through his grandfather’s involvement, and the personal connection of Conely de Leon in the essay about Filipino caregivers.” — Monica Miller, SubTerrain Magazine, review of DRAWN TO CHANGE: Graphic Histories of Working Class Struggle (2016)

“The illustrations by Nicole Marie Burton are particularly impressive, though I equally love the narrative style of David Lester and the etching work of Tania Willard.” — Matthew Brett, Canadian Dimensionreview of DRAWN TO CHANGE: Graphic Histories of Working Class Struggle (2016)

“It can be difficult to get students to think deeply and critically about historical methodology. I found that comics like yours are really wonderful for pulling students into this interpretive world. In a recent class discussion about the inter-war period, we had a long and fascinating debate about which narrator (Gracie or David Lester) was a more effective character for telling their respective histories and why/how that was the case. Unsurprisingly, there was a diversity of opinion, but the net result was a passionate class-room engagement with the issues of capitalism, labour, violence, and everyday working-class experiences. Honestly, I couldn’t have asked any more of them. It was amazing. Thank you for doing the work that you do and please know that it’s making an impact in my classes.” — Eryk Martin, PhD, instructor of first-year Canadian history, Kwantlen Polytechnic University on using David Lester’s The Battle of Ballantyne Pier and Coal Mountain by Nicole Marie Burton in his class (2017)

Reviews of The Listener (Arbeiter Ring Publishing, 2011)
A graphic novel by David Lester

“A dense and fiercely intelligent work that asks important questions about art, history, and the responsibility of the individual, all in a lyrical and stirring tone.” — Publishers Weekly (New York)The-Listener-by-David-Lester-(Arbeiter-Ring)-2011

“This demands to be added to any shelf on which Anne Frank’s Diary, as well as Maus or Miriam Katin’s We Are on Our Own, are available.” — Francisca Goldsmith, School Library Journal (New York)

“Lester mines expressionist graphic manners… to forge a black-and-white style that powerfully realizes his exceptionally literate script.” – Booklist (American Library Association)

“Here the lit
tle-known history of the Nazi propaganda push in one small German state is rendered in astonishing detail: the political machinations between the right-wing German National People’s Party and the Nazi Party, the eventual agreement that the former would support the latter in Lippe elections, the stifling of the press, the assassination of a reporter, the brave acts of a few, the cowardice of the many… a meditative, memorable graphic novel.” — Andrea Appleton, Baltimore City Paper
” …there’s a thematic depth and sense of ambition to The Listener that’s admirable. As Lester’s heroine tours museums and contemplates how art often fails to capture real atrocity, The Listener’s intellectual approach begins to reflect what it’s about.” — A.V. Club, The Onion

“This is The Listener COPY.pmdan excellent graphic novel for teens who appreciate history or have an interest in contemporary politics as well as for young artists and writers who can both learn from and appreciate the storytelling that brings the past to life while focusing on a character’s present. From the opening passages, the tension never lets up, yet the story remains accessible and memorable.” — Francisca Goldsmith, School Library Journal (New York)

“Louise is an extraordinary original. Speaking as a reviewer of comic art since 1970 and historian of comic art, in some way, for the last thirty years, I can say that no one has captured better this dilemma of the politically-inspired artist. An achievement all the more remarkable because the author-artist of this book has managed to place himself within a female protagonist, with perhaps as much skill as the scriptwriters (one of them, later blacklist victim and my own late friend, Ring Lardner, Jr.) was to manage for his friend, that great actress of spunky women, Katharine Hepburn.” – Paul Buhle, ZEEK: A Jewish Journal of Thought & Culture (San Francisco)

“In this striking mixture of fiction and history, Lester makes a compelling argument for the need to continue to speak to others through your political artwork. Along the way, of course, Lester also gives us a lot of great artwork, strong characterizations and a fascinating look into the way Hitler rose to power in Germany in 1933.” — Comic Book Resources
“Lester’s drawing is wonderfully expressive and the book is an intense and well-structured look at a forgotten pivotal moment in history…”– BK Munn, Sequential (Canada)The Listener COPY.pmd

“David Lester depicts the shadowy relationship between words and actions in The Listener. The black guilt that weighs heavily within Louise and the German couple seeps across each page like a Rorschach blot.” – Nicole Gluckstern, SF Bay Guardian (San Francisco)

“Lots of depth, lots of great imagery.” — Comic Attack (Los Angeles)

“…this affecting and thoughtful debut belongs on any grown-up comic bookshelf that also includes, say, Art Spiegelman’s Maus, and Alan Moore and Joyce Brabner’s Iran-Contra history, Brought to Light.” – Adrian Mack, Georgia Straight (Vancouver)

” …a perfect theme for a melancholy and mature black and white graphic novel.” — ComicList (San Francisco)


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