Thursday, April 21, 2011

Collected Essex County by Jeff Lemire

Collected Essex County by Jeff Lemire

Completion Date: March 21, 2011
Reason for Reading: Canada Reads 2011
Where does a young boy turn when his whole world suddenly disappears? What turns two brothers from an unstoppable team into a pair of bitterly estranged loners? How does the simple-hearted care of one middle-aged nurse reveal the scars of an entire community, and can anything heal the wounds caused by a century of deception? Award-winning cartoonist Jeff Lemire pays tribute to his roots with Essex County, an award-winning trilogy of graphic novels set in an imaginary version of his hometown, the eccentric farming community of Essex County, Ontario, Canada. In Essex County, Lemire crafts an intimate study of one community through the years, and a tender meditation on family, memory, grief, secrets, and reconciliation. With the lush, expressive inking of a young artist at the height of his powers, Lemire draws us in and sets us free.

This new edition collects the complete, critically-acclaimed trilogy (Tales from the Farm, Ghost Stories, and The Country Nurse) in one deluxe volume! Also included are over 40-pages of previously unpublished material, including two new stories.
I do attempt to read the Canada Reads books, but the last couple years I have done rather bad at it. I figured I at least needed to read one and since I was surprised there was a graphic novel selection this year, I knew I had to see what it was all about. I am so glad that I did. I tend to read mostly graphic novels set elsewhere, so reading one set close to home was a bit refreshing. It felt familiar the whole time I was reading it because it was Canadiana at its best. It was very good representation of the quiet lives that appear to the outside when you live in the smaller areas, but the book shows that there is more to those quiet lives than meets the eye. I enjoyed how he managed to work the three stories together.

The collection takes the three volumes and puts them all together in one volume. This is a good idea because I can't imagine getting the same thing out of the story if you only read one of the books. They are meant to be a set or you miss out on a lot. When I first started, I thought they were three unrelated stories other than the setting, but as you get going with the story the connections begin to become apparent. I enjoyed how the nurse tied everything together and then in the end, when you discover that there is more going on than meets the eye. The stories are not happy ones, but they have their happy moments. They are just life with its ups and downs. Life is never met to be easy, but sometimes it is harder than anyone really expects.

I think this is a collection of graphic novels worth checking out. They seem so simplistic, but they are actually rather brilliant.


  1. Anonymous5:03 PM

    I've only read the first book so far, and adored it completely. You're right, it seems simplistic, but is actually rather brilliant.

    I'm glad they've been collected. I will have to try to get a hold of a copy.

    ~L (omphaloskepsis)

  2. I'm so glad you enjoyed them as much as I did. The first one was my favorite but I loved all three.

    I recently read books 1 and 2 of his new series Sweet Tooth. In fact I posted my review of the second book today. The third book is coming out in June.

  3. I don't like graphic novels but I live in Essex County!!!!! Cool.


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