Saturday 5 June 2010

Mercury - Hope Larson

Hope Larson
Atheneum an imprint of

Simon & Schuster
ISBN 9781416935889

This is my fourth graphic novel this year. I am surprised that at 40 years of age I am being drawn to graphic novels. I started with authors like Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci, because I enjoyed their other works. Hope helped illustrate Geektastic, one of my favorite books this year, so I wanted to check out some of her other works.

This is a story told in two parts, the first in 1859 and the second in 2009. It is a story of a family, generations apart, but in part reliving the same events, tragedy and loss. Josey Fraser lives in 1959 in French Hill, Nova Scotia. She has fallen in love with a young man named Asa Curry. Asa has found gold on his father's farm. In the same farm house 150 years later, Tara Fraser is dealing with the destruction of the farmhouse and her life being turned upside down; she is given a family heirloom and it seems to help her find what she is wishing to find.

The two stories are told alternately on pages of black with white or white with black. Josey's story is on black pages illustrated in white and Tara's are white pages illustrated in black. The pages have a wide variety of frame layouts and are wonderfully illustrated in just black and white, without using grayscale. Hope Larson is an Eisner Award winner, the highest honor for comic artists. She has developed a large and loyal fan base. The way she combines her art and words, forming a single powerful narrative, is inspiring to her readers. This is a story told across time, but bound by blood. It is reminiscent of Madeleine L'Engle's An Acceptable Time. Larson's current project is a graphic novel adaptation of L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time. Reading this book will spark the imagination and bring out dreams, and will cause you to consider the history presented within this story and also your own personal story - your family history. I met L'Engle a number of years ago and she said her characters are real to her. Every now and again she would get a flash of where they are now and what they are up to. I wonder what Tara is doing a year later, what she will be doing in 5 or 10 years? Maybe someday Larson will tell us that tale.

(First Published in Imprint 2010-06-04.)

Books by Hope Larson:
Salamander Dream (2005)
Gray Horses (2006)
Chiggers (2008)
Mercury (2010)

Geektastic (Illustrator 2009)

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