"[A Few Perfect Hours] pioneers the travel book in comics."
"Riveting, handsomely illustrated, and experientially fascinating.
A Few Perfect Hours
In A Few Perfect Hours (and Other Stories from Southeast Asia and Central Europe), autobiographical cartoonist Josh Neufeld takes us on a dramatic tour of places as exotic and different as Thailand, Singapore, and the former Yugoslavia. Highlights include Neufeld and traveling companion Sari Wilson's stint as extras in a Chinese-language Singaporean soap opera, a train trip through war-torn Serbia, and a near-disastrous cave adventure in Thailand.
With gentle humor and a keen eye for the revelatory detail, Neufeld explores religion and spirituality, politics and personalities, and the mysteries of everyday life. His stories reflect the backpacker's conflicted feelings: a yearning for adventure mixed with homesickness and a sense of disconnection, trapped in a reality constantly in flux.
In the collection's title story, Neufeld illustrates how the tensions and fears involved in travel through a strange country are dispelled by a Thai monk's blessing. In "On a Mission," Neufeld contrasts the viewpoints of American Baptist missionaries in northern Thailand with the traditions of a Buddhist festival. And the book’s longest story, “Cremations, Cubicles, and Cant,” is a brand-new 20-page tale about the death of Neufeld’s grandmother, which contrasts her Jewish funeral service with a Balinese cremation ceremony; it forms the emotional heart of the book.
Comics Worth Reading observes that Neufeld's comics "provide a street-level view of other cultures, with nothing whitewashed. . . . The stories often remind us of the point of travelling — to experience and come to terms with the unknown."
JOSH NEUFELD’s real-life stories about his travel experiences appear in The Vagabonds and Keyhole. With writer R. Walker, he co-created Titans of Finance: True Tales of Money and Business, which premiered to wide notice from the mainstream business press. Josh is a 2004 Xeric Foundation grant recipient. He has been a long-time artist for Harvey Pekar's American Splendor and has contributed to anthologies such as SPX/The EXPO, StripBurger, World War 3 Illustrated, The Big Book of Urban Legends, and Duplex Planet Illustrated. His comics have also appeared in Fortune Small Business, mMode, The Village Voice, The Chicago Reader, and In These Times, as well as many other venues. Josh lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife.
Images, characters and likenesses © and ™ Josh Neufeld