Asterios Polyp, is a professor and architect (though none of his designs have actually been built). After his home is struck by lightning and burns down, he flees to become an auto mechanic in the middle of nowhere, both location and occupation seemingly arrived at randomly.
The book alternates between present and past, including scenes from his childhood and failed marriage, as well as more abstract and imaginary scenes, such as those narrated by his stillborn twin brother, Ignazio, and digressions on aesthetic philosophy.
The characters are associated with a particular drawing style, color scheme, and visual motifs. This page makes me think of Will Eisner, maybe because of all the rain.
Also, I have to say that the characters have some pretty fancy digs. Even Asterios's parents live in an amazing midcentury house with Saarinen chairs and whatnot.
This seems like the type of book that you need to read a few times to absorb all of the layers and depths of meaning. I'm only on read #1. I'll have to let you know when I manage to find time for read #2.