Rereadings: The Professor’s Daughter

June 18, 2010 at 12:00 am 10 comments

This is part of our on-going Rereadings series wherein we take a trip down memory lane to reread some of our favorite books. We are looking for guest bloggers for this series, so if you’re interested in taking a second look at one of your favorites, e-mail us! I look forward to hearing from you!

This week I decided to reread one of my newer favorites, The Professor’s Daughter. This wonderful little book is actual a French graphic novel and, unlike my lovely co-blogger, I am actually typically pretty bad at reading graphic novels. I am so word-oriented that I too often let the beauty and additional meaning of the illustrations slip by me as I hurry to read the words. In short, I focus too much on the “novel” part to the detriment of the “graphic” part. But no more, I vowed this time around!

The Professor’s Daughter is, in my opinion, an unusually beautiful book with gorgeous watercolor paintings in each frame. More so than my first time around, I really noticed the use of light in the paintings. Each new setting has a different overarching color: golden softness for the protagonists’ lovely day on the town, scholarly browns for the professor’s house, otherworldly greens for the dangerous docks, and subdued blues for prison.

Much like my first reading of the book, I really loved pretty much everything about it, paintings included. The plot (Victorian girl and ancient mummy fall in love and live happily ever after) is a near-dream scenario for me, the writing has an easy wit that doesn’t force the humor of any given situation, and there is enough darkness (and murder!) to make the story more than just a simple fairy tale.

As I mentioned in my first review of this book, it is one worth rereading often simply because you’re always noticing something new in the detailed watercolors. Other than the excellent use of different light for each scene, the facial expressions really struck me this time around. You wouldn’t think you could do much with a mummy in terms of facial expressions, but Guibert does a remarkable job with the mummies in the book and the unwrapped humans. On the whole, I highly recommend reading and then rereading this delightful book, as I did when I first read it. Some things just don’t change, I guess.

–Corey

Does anyone else have this word-focused problem with graphic novels? And, if so, any advice for overcoming it?

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10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Lisa Hill  |  June 18, 2010 at 1:34 am

    I’m about to read my first graphic novel, Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, so I guess I’ll find out if I’m too word-focussed too!
    Lisa Hill, ANZ LitLovers

    Reply
    • 2. Corey  |  June 18, 2010 at 11:42 am

      Good luck! I’ve always wanted to read Persepolis so you’ll have to come back and tell me how you liked it. : )

      Reply
  • 3. Shannon  |  June 18, 2010 at 11:10 am

    I love graphic novels. This one sounds awesome. Stop giving me new things to read!

    To Lisa above: Persepolis is fantastic. And it’s wordy, for a graphic novel. I thought. I’m sure you’ll really enjoy it.

    Reply
    • 4. Corey  |  June 18, 2010 at 11:41 am

      At least this one is pretty and short, so you can whisk through it!

      Reply
  • 5. Eva  |  June 18, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    And I’ve placed this on hold! I’ve noticed that I tend to enjoy the more artsy looking graphic novels more, and also nonfiction memoir/travelogue graphic books to graphic fiction. But I have no clue why!

    Reply
    • 6. Corey  |  June 21, 2010 at 11:47 am

      I agree on the artsy front. It is somehow easier for me to appreciate watercolors in a graphic novel than more traditional comic book-style art.

      I’ve never tried nonfiction graphic novels, although travel writing in the form of a graphic novel sounds brilliant!

      Reply
  • 7. KT  |  June 20, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    I have to admit, the first time I read Watchmen, I focused mostly on the words. It’s only when I had to write that huge paper and found The Annotated Watchmen that I started really “reading” the pictures as well!

    Also, this sounds so awesome, and I don’t know why I haven’t picked it up yet. Going on the wish list!

    Reply
    • 8. Corey  |  June 21, 2010 at 11:48 am

      Well that makes me feel rather better. Laura lent me her beautiful Charles Vess-illustrated Stardust and I kept trying to take a moment to appreciate his work, but to little avail. I just ended up focusing on the words anyway!

      And, yes, this book is completely excellent so you should definitely seek it out!

      Reply
  • 9. cardboardstudios  |  June 25, 2010 at 10:40 am

    I grew up reading manga so I am not new to the concept of graphic novels, but I have always wanted a meatier plot to sink into. Neil Gaiman delivered that to me with his Sandman series – an excellent and highly recommended read for fans of mythology.

    This novel looks stunningly beautiful. Maybe I have limited myself to pen and ink / computer-produced artwork for readings… the watercolour medium seems so well-suited for the writing. I think I may have to look into this book!

    Reply
    • 10. Corey  |  June 28, 2010 at 8:29 pm

      Interesting perspective, thanks for sharing!

      Reply

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