The Night Bookmobile is the year's most exciting book about books. It's that rare, beautiful thing in the graphic genre: 40 full colour pen and ink illustrations that explore a bibliophile's (dark) dream. In a long and wide book size of 8 x 11.5 inches are illustrations of colorful bookshelves, a row of books showing titles on spines, a library-room of books, a reader hugging a book close to her, and a universal library right out of a Borges tale.
In an afterword to the book, its author and illustrator, Ms.Niffenegger, says "When I began writing The Night Bookmobile it was a story about a woman's secret life as a reader. As I worked it also became a story about the claims that books place on their readers, the imbalance between our inner and out selves, a cautionary tale of the seductions of the written word. It became a vision of the afterlife as a library..." This, she says, is the first installment of a trilogy to be called `The Library'
Audrey Niffenegger reminds me a lot of Alan Ball (True Blood, Six Feet Under.) Neither one is afraid to explore the darker side of our obsessions with people, places and things. In this fairy tale for adults, Audrey deftly explores our fascination with reading books and creating our own libraries. It is a cautionary tale of obsession and the consequences of getting what you wish for.
I saw myself in this book. I have floor to ceiling book shelves and stacks of books everywhere. I never worked in a library, but I did work in a book store for five years to build up my reading collection. As soon as AMAZON launched I quit the bookstore and began buying books on the internet. And even though I give lots of my books away to libraries, charities, family and friends, I am like Thomas Jefferson - I end up buying ones I have parted with all over again. This grim fairy tale helped me put things into perspective.
This graphic novel was first presented as a short story in Zoetrope and serialized in The Guardian. This is the first book in a proposed trilogy.
"The Time Traveler's Wife" is my favorite book of all time. Author Audrey Niffenegger's other books are much different than that one...much darker...and "The Night Bookmobile" is no exception. This creepy graphic novel tells the story of a young woman who gives up her entire life for the written word. It's super creepy and super fabulous...great Halloween reading! I am thrilled to add it to my Niffenegger collection.
Reading negative reviews of this incredible book really bothered me. Just because a book has pictures doesn't make it for children, and this graphic novel was never marketed as a children's book. With that being said...
I loved it. It was exactly what you'd expect from Audrey Niffenegger--beautiful, haunting, and more than a little macabre. It's about a woman who sees a mysterious bookmobile three times in her life. The collection of the bookmobile is every book she's ever read, and she has her own personal librarian. This is a love letter to books and reading, but it's also a warning too, I thought. Giving too much of herself to books leads this woman, who becomes a librarian, to live her life with only books for company.
The story was unique, the illustrations were just the right mix of mature and childlike, and the writing was very personal. A wonderful work. Highly recommended.