Monday, December 14, 2009

The Montreal Gazette Selects Essex County!

Ian Gillis of the Montreal Gazette recently chose ESSEX COUNTY as part of his spotlight on Candian Graphic Novels.

The Complete Essex County,
by Jeff Lemire (Top Shelf Productions, 512 pages, $31.95). In this family saga set in an imagined version of the author’s native southwestern Ontario, Lemire taps into some of the deepest wellsprings of Canadian mythology: hardscrabble farm life, long winters, stoicism, solitude and, as well as anyone has ever depicted, the central role of hockey. The result is a book that achieves an epic sweep even though it’s relatively light on text.

Lemire’s fluid, expressionistic black-and-white style – he’s especially effective with faces and how they echo across generations – speaks volumes by itself. As a storyteller, he’s bold enough to walk the thin line between melancholy and sentimentality, never quite succumbing to the latter. Essex County packs an enormous emotional punch.