An evocative meditation on personal pain and dreams deferred.

LUISA

NOW & THEN

A 30-something woman must reckon with judgments from her 15-year-old self.

In 2013, Luisa Arambol, a commercial food photographer, lives in the Paris apartment left to her by her late Aunt Aurelia, a woman she barely knew. Luisa has little contact with her mother, unsatisfying short-term relationships with men, and an irresponsible relationship with alcohol. In the 1990s, Luisa pops a cassette into her Walkman, hops on a bus to her home near Chartres, and nods off, waking up in Paris. She is rescued by Luisa’s neighbor Sasha, who deposits her with Luisa senior, and the two work out their connection—as well as a cover story about a long-lost cousin. Teen Luisa is horrified, regarding her older self as a sellout who compromised on artistic integrity. Even more painful to confront is both Luisas’ feelings about her sexuality and her treatment of a teenage friend who was a target of homophobic bullying. Lesbian Sasha becomes a lightning rod for adult Luisa’s conflicted feelings. As the two Luisas spend time more together, they experience greater conflict as well as a melding of sorts. The golden-hued illustrations vividly evoke the Parisian setting, with flashbacks rendered in sepia tones. The realism of the art accentuates the surreal dislocation both women experience. The story is told honestly, with no sugarcoating of painful truths, and will hold strong appeal for teen and adult readers alike. Main characters are white; there are secondary characters of color.

An evocative meditation on personal pain and dreams deferred. (Graphic fantasy. 15-adult)

Pub Date: June 20, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-59465-643-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Life Drawn

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2020

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Even so, this remains Macbeth, arguably the Bard of Avon’s most durable and multilayered tragedy, and overall, this enhanced...

MACBETH

From the Wordplay Shakespeare series

A pairing of the text of the Scottish Play with a filmed performance, designed with the Shakespeare novice in mind.

The left side of the screen of this enhanced e-book contains a full version of Macbeth, while the right side includes a performance of the dialogue shown (approximately 20 lines’ worth per page). This granular focus allows newcomers to experience the nuances of the play, which is rich in irony, hidden intentions and sudden shifts in emotional temperature. The set and costuming are deliberately simple: The background is white, and Macbeth’s “armor” is a leather jacket. But nobody’s dumbing down their performances. Francesca Faridany is particularly good as a tightly coiled Lady Macbeth; Raphael Nash-Thompson gives his roles as the drunken porter and a witch a garrulousness that carries an entertainingly sinister edge. The presentation is not without its hiccups. Matching the video on the right with the text on the left means routinely cutting off dramatic moments; at one point, users have to swipe to see and read the second half of a scene’s closing couplet—presumably an easy fix. A “tap to translate” button on each page puts the text into plain English, but the pop-up text covers up Shakespeare’s original, denying any attempts at comparison; moreover, the translation mainly redefines more obscure words, suggesting that smaller pop-ups for individual terms might be more meaningful.

Even so, this remains Macbeth, arguably the Bard of Avon’s most durable and multilayered tragedy, and overall, this enhanced e-book makes the play appealing and graspable to students . (Enhanced e-book. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2013

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: The New Book Press LLC

Review Posted Online: Nov. 7, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2013

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A solid introduction for budding lovers of the Bard.

HAMLET

From the Campfire Graphic Novels series

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

The timeless tale of the young and disaffected Danish prince who is pushed to avenge his father’s untimely murder at the hands of his brother unfolds with straightforward briskness. Shakespeare’s text has been liberally but judiciously cut, staying true to the thematic meaning while dispensing with longer speeches (with the notable exception of the renowned “to be or not to be” soliloquy) and intermediary dialogues. Some of the more obscure language has been modernized, with a glossary of terms provided at the end; despite these efforts, readers wholly unfamiliar with the story might struggle with independent interpretation. Where this adaptation mainly excels is in its art, especially as the play builds to its tensely wrought final act. Illustrator Kumar (World War Two, 2015, etc.) pairs richly detailed interiors and exteriors with painstakingly rendered characters, each easily distinguished from their fellows through costume, hairstyle, and bearing. Human figures are generally depicted in bust or three-quarter shots, making the larger panels of full figures all the more striking. Heavily scored lines of ink form shadows, lending the otherwise bright pages a gritty air. All characters are white.

A solid introduction for budding lovers of the Bard. (biography of Shakespeare, dramatis personae, glossary) (Graphic novel. 12-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2019

ISBN: 978-93-81182-51-2

Page Count: 90

Publisher: Campfire

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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