Thursday, September 10, 2009

Britten and Brülightly by Hannah Berry

I love the idea of graphic novels. I love the idea that drawings can instantly tell us things about people and situations and language provides depth, gloss, and character. Persepolis by Satrapi gave us serious biography graphically, and The Photographer by Lefevre and Guibert gave us serious war reportage. Now Britten and Brülightly takes us part of the way to what I imagine is possible for a graphic literature. The art is superbly suitable for the noirish mystery. It is nuanced, and shows us slight variations in meanings. The choice of frames impells the story forward at a reasonable clip (could, perhaps, have used a few more frames as I had to flip back a couple times). The authorial voice for Britten is dour and dry and funny. Britten and his sidekick, Brülightly, manage to solve the mystery of a thwarted love affair which involves death, birth out of wedlock, and hidden family histories. I loved the characterizations, but hated the ending. The story line at the end was not all I would have wished, but overall the effort was exceptional. I look forward to the direction this book has moved us.

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