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The Scarlet Letter: Manga Classics Paperback – March 1, 2015
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"I can say that it made me want to pick up The Scarlet Letter and actually give it a second chance. This manga was a super quick read, but one that was emotional and intriguing. I couldn't put it down until I was done! " - NetGalley.com
About the Author
Nathaniel Hawthorne was an American novelist, Dark Romantic, and short story writer. Much of Hawthorne's writing centers on New England, many works featuring moral allegories with a Puritan inspiration. His fiction works are considered part of the Romantic movement and, more specifically, Dark romanticism. His themes often center on the inherent evil and sin of humanity, and his works often have moral messages and deep psychological complexity. His published works include novels, short stories, and a biography of his college friend Franklin Pierce.
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This is a very good interpretation of the classic book by Nathaniel Hawthorne. I loved the artwork. The faces especially are very expressive.
It is obviously shortened version, but it did get the essence of the story right.
The story is about a young lady who had a child out of wedlock. She was ostracized by her community and made to always wear red letter A as a sign for her "sin" but it did not break her. She wore it proudly. Very sad that this kind of injustice was happening in the past, and we need a reminder to make sure it does not repeat. There is still too many people who try to judge other people on what is going on inside their pants.
I've been a fan of Hawthorne since college, but I'll be the first to admit that his prose can be pretty heavy to wade through in parts. I've been wanting to re-read Scarlet Letter for years but it's just not something that I can sink easily into after a long day. So when a review copy of this book came available on NetGalley, I snapped it up as fast as I could, and ended up reading it in a single sitting that day.
First of all, the artwork in this manga is gorgeous. The book is fully black-and-white (which is my one complaint; the color cover is just stunning) and the rendering of the faces is incredible and evocative. Each character is rendered uniquely and is recognizable to me, which is always a big plus for graphic novels. The scenery shots, too, are gorgeous and there is no skimping on detail. Seriously, I would recommend picking this up based on the art alone.
Regarding the adaptation of the story: I love it. I haven't read Scarlet Letter in years, so there might be some details that I've missed, but this feels like a very faithful adaptation of the original. In some ways I almost like this adaptation better; I found Pearl and Dimmesdale to both be much more sympathetic here than I did in Hawthorne's novel, I think in part because of the emotive expressions rendered through the artwork. When Pearl is throwing flowers at the badge, for instance, she genuinely looks like a small child playing a game rather than a fae creature tormenting her mother (as Hawthorne was sometimes wont to render her). The added visualization made the story feel more real.
My only other real criticism of this is that I wish the publisher would make a kindle version; other manga series have done well in electronic form, so why not these? I hope they expand that as an option in the future.
NOTE: This review is based on a free electronic Advance Review Copy of this book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.
~ Ana Mardoll
As with Udon’s manga adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, the main story is faithfully intact, merely abridged for easier storytelling. This is by no means a replacement for the novel, but it serves two tremendous purposes: 1) to bring new readers to the story who may never have picked the book up before, and 2) to serve as a companion read to readers who have trouble with the novel. Manga is a popular art medium that’s been reaching beyond purely Japanese titles and finding a firm audience in American adaptations, from popular YA series like Twilight and Beautiful Creatures to classics like Les Miserables, Pride and Prejudice, and now, The Scarlet Letter.