Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Reader's Diary #605- Jeff Lemire: The Country Nurse

With Jeff Lemire's The Country Nurse, I've completed my second graphic novel series (the Collected Essex County) this year (the first being Jeff Smith's Bone).

I wouldn't go as far as saying that The Country Nurse was a disappointment, as the larger overall story of Lester and Jimmy gets a little more closure and loose ends are tidied up. However, the book doesn't stand alone as well as the first two books. The story of the country nurse is weaker, less interesting. She's a meddler with good intentions, but Lemire gives away her psychology a little too easily, making her cliched. Granted, the background story of her grandmother, a much more intriguing character, saves the book. First timers to Lemire's work might still see this volume as remarkable (if somewhat confusing without the context of the first two volumes). Rare are the comics with this much emotion and symbolism and the artwork is, as always, stellar. But the first two books (Tales From the Farm and Ghost Stories) show Lemire's true potential.

Do yourself a favour and buy the complete volume. Not only does it make the third book work better, but you'll have one of the best novels to come out of Canada in a while. Plus, it has loads of special features at the end including additional Essex County stories, early character sketches and promotional material.

3 comments:

John Mutford said...

Also reviewed by Wanda.

Wanda said...

*grining sheepishly* think you forgot "a favour" in your last paragraph there, John ...

I did like the fist one best though I also appreciated how Jeff Lemire tied all three together. I borrowed mine as three seperate volumes from the library and loved the cover art. To enjoy the "extras", I'll have to borrow back the big book that I bought for my nephew last Christmas ...

John Mutford said...

Wanda: HA! Yes, "Do yourself" and "Do yourself a favour" are quite different. Then again...