Monday, August 31, 2015

Review: The Marvels

The Marvels The Marvels by Brian Selznick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have many many feelings about this book.

Selznik is definitely trying something new with format and, for the most part it is very, very effective. The illustrations are illustrated for a specific reason--not just as a means to tell a wordless story. That being said, there are just too many pages of illustrations to go through. I don't have a suggestion as a standard graphic novel style would not do the illustrations justice.

However, the illustrations are the strength of the novel. The prose narrative is interesting, suspenseful and well developed. It takes a savvy reader to put all the pieces of this puzzle together, but when you do, it is quite rewarding.

I was not expecting the AIDS subplot, and while it took me aback for a moment, I am glad that Selznik--especially in the historical context of the perception of AIDS in the late 80s and early 90s--did not shy away from this topic. So often any discussion of AIDS is relegated to the "problem novel" department instead of being dealt with in engaging and fantastical stories.

The weakness of this book, I think, is the dialogue. I find it forced and too often have to suspend my disbelief during various conversations.

Overall though, this is a marvelous work of art, insight and history.

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