GRAPHIC NOVELS

Glass Town: The Imaginary World of the Brontës

Abrams/Comics Arts. Mar. 2020. 224p. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9781419732683.
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Gr 8 Up–If creativity stems from tragedy, then the Brontës were primed for a life of artistry. In this fictionalized version of the early years of Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, and Anne, the children use their imaginations to escape an often bleak reality (their eldest two sisters have recently died of consumption and their mother passed away years ago). Drawing influence from the novels on their father’s shelves, they conjure up Glass Town, a complex world of war, death, and love. As the children grow older and are sent away to school or work, their relationships begin to fracture and so do their imagined worlds, but they never stop creating. Greenberg breathes life into the Brontës’ unpublished early writings. Her dreamlike illustrations are rendered in an almost childish scrawl, giving the work a charming handmade quality; readers will feel that they, too, are inventing this world alongside the siblings. The art strikes a balance between whimsy and darkness—an appropriate choice given that the Brontës’ own lives swung between soaring success and anguish.
VERDICT Those who appreciate historical fiction and classic literature will be engrossed by this reimagining of the childhoods of these literary luminaries.

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