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THIS PLACE

150 YEARS RETOLD

An illuminating, self-assured graphic novel anthology in which every panel reads like a radical act.

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Indigenous authors share tales from Canada’s past in this compendium.

Dystopian visions have become increasingly common in mainstream culture, but as Tuscarora writer Alicia Elliott asserts in her foreword to this graphic novel anthology, “as Indigenous people, we all live in a post-apocalyptic world.” Survival against all odds is a common thread in these intriguing stories, as are resistance, self-determination, and respect for traditional ways of life. Métis author Katherena Vermette tells the tale of Annie Bannatyne, a Métis entrepreneur who, in 1868, reacted to a newspaper article disparaging Métis women by treating its author to some frontier justice. Cree writer David A. Robertson explores the life of legendary World War I sniper—and later chief of the Wasauksing Nation—Francis “Peggy” Pegahmagabow, who earned a level of respect from whites in the military he could not have hoped for in civilian life. Anishinaabe author Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair recounts the experiences of an Indigenous youth coming-of-age during the Indigenous resistance to the Meech Lake Accord and the subsequent Oka Crisis—an armed standoff between the Canadian government and Mohawk activists—in 1990. Standout pieces include “Rosie” by Inuit-Cree writer Rachel Qitsualik-Tinsley and Scottish-Mohawk author Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley (with stunning images by GMB Chomichuk) and “Red Clouds” by Ojibway writer Jen Storm (illustrations and color by Métis artist Natasha Donovan). The “Red Clouds” images feature thin lines and flat, broad patches of orange, white, and gray, lending the tale a picture-book quality that perfectly fits its ghost-story plot. The anthology hops around in time, geography, and narrative style. But the repetition of certain illustrators and colorists gives it a cohesive, though not overly uniform, look. For those interested in the sparsely covered history of Indigenous Canada—and the contemporary Indigenous graphic novel scene—this should be a must-have book.

An illuminating, self-assured graphic novel anthology in which every panel reads like a radical act.

Pub Date: April 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-55379-758-6

Page Count: 296

Publisher: HighWater Press

Review Posted Online: April 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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THE DA VINCI CODE

Bulky, balky, talky.

In an updated quest for the Holy Grail, the narrative pace remains stuck in slo-mo.

But is the Grail, in fact, holy? Turns out that’s a matter of perspective. If you’re a member of that most secret of clandestine societies, the Priory of Sion, you think yes. But if your heart belongs to the Roman Catholic Church, the Grail is more than just unholy, it’s downright subversive and terrifying. At least, so the story goes in this latest of Brown’s exhaustively researched, underimagined treatise-thrillers (Deception Point, 2001, etc.). When Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon—in Paris to deliver a lecture—has his sleep interrupted at two a.m., it’s to discover that the police suspect he’s a murderer, the victim none other than Jacques Saumière, esteemed curator of the Louvre. The evidence against Langdon could hardly be sketchier, but the cops feel huge pressure to make an arrest. And besides, they don’t particularly like Americans. Aided by the murdered man’s granddaughter, Langdon flees the flics to trudge the Grail-path along with pretty, persuasive Sophie, who’s driven by her own need to find answers. The game now afoot amounts to a scavenger hunt for the scholarly, clues supplied by the late curator, whose intent was to enlighten Sophie and bedevil her enemies. It’s not all that easy to identify these enemies. Are they emissaries from the Vatican, bent on foiling the Grail-seekers? From Opus Dei, the wayward, deeply conservative Catholic offshoot bent on foiling everybody? Or any one of a number of freelancers bent on a multifaceted array of private agendas? For that matter, what exactly is the Priory of Sion? What does it have to do with Leonardo? With Mary Magdalene? With (gulp) Walt Disney? By the time Sophie and Langdon reach home base, everything—well, at least more than enough—has been revealed.

Bulky, balky, talky.

Pub Date: March 18, 2003

ISBN: 0-385-50420-9

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2003

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MISSOURI BOY

Short, gleeful and precise.

One artist’s mild childhood, told in episodic flashes.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen a tale of growing up that trades neither in overwhelming nostalgia nor sheer, unmitigated dysfunction, so the publication of this illustrated memoir by Myrick (Bright Elegy, not reviewed) is especially welcome. The artist’s upbringing in a small Missouri town not far from St. Louis is chronicled in self-contained episodes identified by year, beginning in 1961 and ending in 1985. Each chapter is an evocative vignette that could almost stand on its own, and several have a Bradbury-esque glow, while darkness falls over some sections. In “My Father’s Hands,” which begins with the family dressing for court, Myrick’s oldest brother, “head bowed, hippie beard pressed against his chest,” gets a ten-year sentence for bank robbery. The most imaginative of these episodes compares his pregnant mother’s swollen belly to the distended shape of “one dying grandmother bulging with the death growing in her stomach,” then envisions the birth of the artist and his twin: “We enter the world, my brother and I . . . with the circle of life wobbling unsteadily. Attached to a grandmother we will never meet.” Most of these stories began as poems, and their elliptical lilt remains, accentuated by Myrick’s artwork (color by Hilary Sycamore), replete with haunted eyes and giant, toothy smiles. By the end, when his youthful self shakes off the past (“I feel the presence of my local gods waning”) and he heads for California, readers may feel wistful for a childhood they never experienced.

Short, gleeful and precise.

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2006

ISBN: 1-59643-110-5

Page Count: 112

Publisher: First Second/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2006

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