Many people claim that graphic novels are poor relations to “real” books, suggesting that they lack depth, substance and good writing, substituting this for flashy, hollow images. Others say graphic novel artists have no real artistic skill, so draw a series of small images, rather than individual pieces of work, to disguise their inability to draw.
Can Grandville: Mon Amour by Bryan Talbot silence the graphic novel haters?
Please Note: This review assumes you have some knowledge of the Grandville series. If you do not, we recommend you read the Grandville review first.
Mon Amour is not perfect, it is not the pinnacle of the genre, but it is a simple and striking combination of beautiful, detailed and skilful images – almost everyone of them worth study in their own right – and strong, balanced prose, with a fun thriller story.
The illustrations are Mon Amour's most note-worthy feature, but I'm struggling on how to summarise them. I don't pretend to know art, plus much of what I have to say on the artwork in this book I said in my review for the first book. Mon Amour is very much the same in a style sense to the first book, naturally, as Talbot draws it all (though he does not colour). The care and attention gone in to each image is obvious, and Talbot seems to have a natural knack for expressions on anthropomorphic animals faces.
The story itself is another strong point in Mon Amour. Similar to the first book, in terms of tone and themes – murder, political intrigue, love and loss – though Mon Amour is more about murder and loss, whilst the first Grandville leant towards political intrigue and love. The mysteries and twists are not that unexpected, but are interesting none the less, and the pseudo-historical setting is fascinating.
If there is one place that Grandville: Mon Amour falls down at is length, exactly the same problem that blighted the first book. It is the main argument on which you could say graphic novels are not as involving or important as full books, as how deep can a story be if it is only 100 pages? But it doesn't matter, Grandville is an excellent read.
Grandville: Mon Amour is not the finest literature, it does not transcend genres, but it is a brilliant piece of fiction, brought to life with magnificent detailed colours.
Order your copy of Grandville Mon Amour from Amazon UK