Thursday, June 07, 2018

The Girl From the Other Side: Siúil, a Rún vol 1, by Nagabe

The nice people at Gosh! recommended this when I said I was after something to intrigue the Lord of Chaos, in our efforts to get him to read for himself. I'd already picked up The Deep: Here Be Dragons - the graphic novel that led to the TV series he loves - and asked for something similarly gripping, intelligent and not about bickering heroes.

So, under wise instruction, I looked through a few things and settled on The Girl From the Other Side: Siúil, a Rún, with story and art by Nagabe, and translated by Adrienne Beck. The first instalment (there are, to date, four) looked suitably goth and strange to appeal to the Lord's mother, too, and I thought reading it front-to-back and right-to-left would grab his Lordship's attention. But I thought I'd better read it first.

A small girl lives in a house in the forest with a monstrous-looking but kindly guardian - who she cannot touch. The guardian, apparently a teacher, has contracted a curse that is passed on by contact. Anyone with this curse, or suspected of having it, is killed by the terrified, ordinary people on the other side of a cordon. So the girl really should know better than to wander off on her own...

It's a beguiling and beautifully told story, a lot of it told without words, and what dialogue there is minimal anyway. As a result, we must more carefully study the pictures - the comics equivalent of Scandinoir holding our attention because we have to follow the subtitles. The gentle wimsy of the girl and her relationship with the teacher - doing chores, burning a cake but trying to eat it anyway - plays off chillingly against the threat of the "insiders" who wish these two nice people dead.

From his Lordship's perspective, the main issue will be that - just as we're getting into the story - it ends on a bit of a hook. So I've used the excuse of his potential interest to order the next volume...

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