Essex County

Essex County

Graphic Novel - 2010
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Where does a young boy turn when his whole world suddenly disappears? What turns two brothers from an unstoppable team into 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. Here, 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 Also included are over 40-pages of previously unpublished material, including two new stories.
Publisher: Atlanta, GA : Top Shelf Productions, 2010
ISBN: 9781603090384
9781603090469
Branch Call Number: LEMI
Characteristics: 510 p. : chiefly ill

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frankbiblo
Dec 26, 2016

There are several themes in this book, ranging from the effects of city life, aging, to regret and sorrows, closeness and family, but the theme that stands out the most is loneliness. As it is repeated several times, and you know when someone with severe memory problems tells you something three times: it is detrimental. What we take away from this book is through the eyes of a third party, but with the lens of Luo, the old man whom we know nothing of for the first few pages. Luo gives his recount of the past, as we pop in—and out of—the present and hop into the boat that sails the shallow waters of his memories; and the book which he finds in the basement of his house (Lemire 173) one day is our compass: letting us align ourselves to the recounts of history.
As Luo puts it first, “there are only two ways to be … alone… lost in a crowd ... or in total isolation” (229). Each brother has assumed a role. But Luo also references to an alternative to being alone, and that is being deaf (241), mind you, he would rather be deaf than hear others and put up with them, the reason may be the depression caused by his city life and the fact that he had an affair with his sister-in-law (more on that later). There is also a 25 year gap between Luo and Beth’s marriage, and Luo and Vince meeting again, the only reason which was strong enough to pull Luo out of the city and back to the farm was his mother’s death (247). This shows just how embarrassed Luo has been this whole time about what he did with Beth, but somehow manages to mess everything up last minute, instead of a proper apology to Vince.

There are slight resemblances to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, which must have in no doubt influenced Lemire’s writing style, as he was learning and improving his literacy skills. There is adultery!! Between a married woman and a bachelor (201), this was also the case with Mr. Gatsby, and how he thought, blindly be it, that Daisy loved him; much like Luo still thinks that Beth loves him—even though it is clearly not true at all. He [Luo] also seems to be, much like Gatsby, fixated on one girl, whom here takes the name of Beth (232). This fixation and self-delusion is the root cause of his solitude. The mixes between literary works are truly masterful.
As seen in King Lear, parallel plots seems to make it much easier for the reader to understand the entire picture which the author wishes to convey. As all three generations: Luo, Jimmy, and Lester, have lost their mothers, one recognises the grandeur effect that the loss of a loved one can have on them. It moves them, moves Luo to the farm, and Lester away from home (at least temporarily). There is also the fights between Jimmy & Ken, and Vince & Luo, which distances them, making them lonely once more (264). And Jimmy’s growth (307) tells us how quickly this cycle can repeat itself.

[http://essexcountybookclub.blogspot.ca/2016/12/franks-theme-book-2.html]

DBRL_DanaS Nov 16, 2016

Simple, sweet, heartbreaking. Essex County is a three-part series focusing on the connections between several lonely people in rural Ontario, loosely based on the author's own hometown.

bibliotechnocrat Jan 22, 2016

This trilogy of graphic novels set in Ontario explores the Canadian psyche through community, hockey, winter, loneliness, and great art. A superhero-obsessed orphan, estranged brothers, and a community nurse draw us into this small-town world. Lemire’s spare text is beautifully wrenching and the illustrations perfectly match. By turns poignant, sad, and amusing, this is a great read.

k
kwsmith
Apr 12, 2015

This finely crafted heartfelt graphic novel features traditionally Canadian themes of loneliness and isolation. Also, the role of family (roots) is a central focus. Lemire's Canadian characters are all realistic, vibrant, and always entertaining.

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FVReader
Aug 17, 2014

Really well done. The three stories are intertwined; everyone is tied together, secrets & sorrows abound. Yet Family stick together and healing & forgiveness also abound. This is an interesting, sad, yet kind and heartwarming story of survival and togetherness.

o
ohialehuadef
Oct 29, 2011

I was really moved by this book. Loved the experience of reading it, and the impact of individual cells... highly recommend this one.

Haywardgf Sep 12, 2011

This is a great series. I could not stop reading and when I had to all I wanted to do was go back and read more. This especially resonated as I grew up in rural Canada and could really relate to many of the themes throughout. I would highly recommend this and especially to people who may be sceptics of the Graphic Novel genre. This series will definitely change opinions in that regard.

s
sasie
Jul 02, 2011

I've never read a graphic novel before and I hadn't really intended to read this one - just to leaf through it to see what it was like. However every time I put it down I was compelled to pick it back up again. It was surprising to me how so few words and such simple illustrations were able to invoke such feeling and meaning. I was impressed.

d
DeltaQueen50
Jul 01, 2011

An amazing collection of stories, Essex County weaves tales of secrets, love and relationships together to create a breathtaking, complex look at family. I loved everything about this book, the drawings, the writing, how the author conveyed emotion into every stroke of his pen. His stylized pictures showing the passage of time was brilliant. These stories brought both tears to my eyes and smiles to my lips.

I was sorry to see each story end, but then I was immediately drawn into the next one. And although they are all connected and interwoven, they could just as easily stand on their own. The author also added such strong Canadian touches, from our love of hockey to references to Canadian Tire Stores and Esso Gas Stations. Essex County is in Ontario, but this look at rural life could have been just about in any of our provinces.

With Essex Country I can see just what graphic novels have to offer. Emotional yet subtle, complete storytelling by picture and a few perfectly chosen words. This is a book that I will be thinking of often and I can’t praise it enough. I highly recommend this beautifully crafted book.

j
JustineM
May 28, 2011

Ordered it because of CBC - found out it was a graphic novel about hockey and figured oh, well - at least it's free.... after inhaling it in a couple hours plan to buy it. It amazed me how much story was there in so few words. LOVED it. Such a great story.

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aKOKO Dec 09, 2011

Well, what you wanna do is build a lookout up there just behind the tree line. Then you can just peg the pissers off one at a time.

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