Saturday, July 21, 2012

Sailor Twain: : Or: The Mermaid in the Hudson by Mark Siegel

A few months back I was perusing Tor's fall 2012 offerings and the blurb on a graphic novel coming out through an imprint called First Second Books:  
One hundred years ago, on the foggy Hudson River,a riverboat captain rescues an injured mermaid from the waters of the busiest port in the United States. A wildly popular—and notoriously reclusive—author makes a public debut. A French nobleman seeks a remedy for a curse. As three lives twine together in an unexpected collision, the mystery of the Mermaid of the Hudson deepens...
That the author/illustrator was both the Editorial Director of First Second and had award-winning books in his repertoire only added to my interest.

A copy of the book arrived here yesterday.  I read it in one day, though the book has more depth than most graphic novels do. That depth is in both the story and the luminous quality of much of the graphics that carry the tale.  There were some remarkable moments, in both story and art, between the covers of this book.  The drawings are not in color, which in this case is a good thing.  It helps keep the art clear, avoiding a muddy nature which can come into some graphic novels. In fact, in this book, the black-white-gray almost charcoal feel of some of the panels helps create an ethereal quality to some parts of the story that slip more into the realm of fantasy and eroticism than fiction. I also really enjoyed the maps and article bits that made up the chapter pages. Plus there were some great humorous touches, and a lot of interesting tidbits for the curious reader to investigate further.

One more thing which I really liked about this book was that the publishers chose to make this book hardcover, which gave it a different feel in the hand when reading -- sort of like the good mouth-feel of an excellent wine or coffee versus what you get from the chain down the street.

Thank you Tor and First Second for giving me such an enjoyable mind voyage down the Hudson and then some.

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