Wednesday, 20 April 2016
An early example of a graphic novel (published in 1994) with the graphic aspect totally unrelated to the conventional meaning of the term. There are thirty-nine paintings by Michael Flanagan (1943-2012) on the right-hand pages but you really have to see some to appreciate the extraordinary amount of work that has gone into them. Each image has a photographic style rendering with some handwriting underneath. This writing is typeset on the left-hand page and printed on a color panel. Additional type on the page is the novel and if you read the editorial review from Publishers Weekly above you'll get a good idea of what this aspect of the book is about.
I thought the story was worthwhile enough but my interest in the book is primarily the paintings. Flanagan has managed to capture a bygone age of the railroad but in a unique way. The pictures are on torn and crumpled paper with stains, creases, tape stuck on a tear and nicely here and there additional pieces of paper underneath the top sheet, all this has
been painted Actually it's a shame that the book wasn't bigger so the reader can enjoy these amazing images. I couldn't find any reference to how big the originals were, with the amount of handwriting below each image I would guess they were three or four times the size in the book.
I think this is a remarkable book which you can pick up for less than the shipping costs.