Essex County

Essex County

Book - 2009
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Presents the award-winning trilogy of graphic novels set in an imaginary version of the author's hometown, and reveals the problems and issues the families within the community face.
Publisher: Atlanta : Top Shelf Productions, [2009]
Copyright Date: ©2009
ISBN: 9781603090384
Branch Call Number: GN 741.5971 L5435E
Characteristics: 510 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm


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Sep 03, 2019

Scratchy dark ink drawings; dull dialogue; simple characters; slow storytelling; mediocre introduction; very "Canadian."

Apr 19, 2019

Very affecting and surprisingly touching.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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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