Daily Graphic Novel Recommendation 120

The One-Hundred Nights Of Hero

by Isabel Greenberg
224 pages
Genre notes: fable, mythos
ISBN: 0316259179 (Amazon)

I hadn't read Isabel Greenberg's Encyclopedia Of Early Earth (thinking by its title that it was some children's graphic novel-style presentation of Mesopotamian history and culture), and so I was unprepared for the cut of her narrative jib. I was enjoying the funny little mythos unveiling in The One Hundred Nights Of Hero when I came across what felt like an intrusive bit of authoring. Two women are snuggling in a bed and then there is a panel of all black with white text, saying:

It hit me funny and took me out of the book for a moment in a way I didn't appreciate. It felt entirely too glib for the wonderful fable I was being allowed to observe unfold. I put the book down and came back to later that evening.

My reader's expectations had, of course, abused me. I thought I was reading one kind of book (a sober, reflective story about kings and gods, perhaps), but that was my mistake. This wasn't ever going to be any kind of a snooty, lofty, huffy kind of a book. It may reach for a kind of nobility, but instead of anything approaching the coolness of academic self-importance, The One Hundred Nights Of Hero is lively and warm and takes a fierce sort of off-the-cuff joy relating one primary thesis: that there is both joy and power in Story.

I was foolish to let my expectations carry me away, but Greenberg's work is strong enough to have easily brought me back into its fold. (As soon as I get some money, I'm going to be challenging further our quickly diminishing shelf space by purchasing her earlier work, Encyclopedia Of Early Earth.)

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