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Gray Horses

3.25  ·  Rating Details ·  436 Ratings  ·  83 Reviews
NoEmie has left her home in France to study abroad. In Onion City there are new friends, new environments, and new loves. There are also new dreams. And not ordinary dreams. Vivid visions of life in a different time and in a different place, but more than that, of a different existence. In Noemie's sleep she's not a woman, but a horse. A noble creature aiding a sick little ...more
Paperback, 112 pages
Published February 28th 2006 by Oni Press (first published January 1st 2006)
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Feb 02, 2015 Sesana rated it it was ok
Shelves: contemporary, comics
It isn't badly written or drawn, it just didn't hit the right notes with me. I didn't really feel connected with Noemie or her story. And the strange guy who takes pictures of her from a distance and runs away when she notices him? That's creepy.
Nov 15, 2007 Cathy rated it really liked it
This is another unique and special comic by Hope Larson, who also created Salamander Dreams. Just as in Salamander Dreams, Larson continues to draw dreamlike simple line illustrations. This time her colors of choice are a light peach and black, which she seems to use in order to differentiate between the items that she wants you to focus on and everything else.

In this book, the main character is a French foreign exchange student named Noemie. The book is peppered with French lines, repeated in E
Melissa Chung
Sep 05, 2016 Melissa Chung rated it it was ok
Hmmm. 2.5 stars! I'm afraid I'm not cool enough to understand this very short graphic novel.

Noémie is from Dijon, France. She is going to school in America. She has weird dreams at night about a girl named Marcy and a talking horse. The horse speaks in French. Marcy is sick and her parents must get rid of her things because germs are really bad for her.

During the day Noémie goes to Art History class with a neighbor friend. There is a boy that is always taking her picture.

At the end of the book
Apr 29, 2010 jess rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010, graphic-novels
This book is the story of a girl from France who comes to the US to study abroad. Hope Larson captures the character's sense of foreign-ness and outsider status -- without depending solely on the language barrier for her sense of alienation. Noemi moves to Onion City from Dijon, France. She has a small furnished apartment. She has her studies. She rides the train. She makes a friend. She handles post-break up feelings from a distance. She sees a cute boy around the neighborhood. It is sort of cr ...more
Nick Fagerlund
Jun 30, 2008 Nick Fagerlund rated it liked it
Shelves: comics
I can see myself re-reading this fairly often. It’s… meditative. And textured. Yes, I think those are the words I’m looking for.

Also, the emotional and temporal spaces it’s about are ones I seem to inhabit more often than not. Shelf with Kiki’s Delivery Service, I think.
Kevin Fanning
Jul 28, 2010 Kevin Fanning rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel
More like this, where there's magic but it doesn't get explained away. I'm not the expert but I feel like Larson is just light years ahead of everyone else, as far as connecting panels together in interesting & unexpected ways.
Mar 13, 2017 Sara rated it liked it
It's nothing mind blowing, a girl from France goes to an American university and has several self discoveries, largely through her dreams. It was a cute and easy read--it's told in both French and English, which I really liked---there's an English translation for every French phase.
Feb 08, 2017 Bethany rated it it was ok
Simplistic, kind of boring at times, but nice ending
Chili Public
Oct 30, 2009 Chili Public rated it really liked it
This is another unique and special comic by Hope Larson, who also created Salamander Dreams. Just as in Salamander Dreams, Larson continues to draw dreamlike simple line illustrations. This time her colors of choice are a light peach and black, which she seems to use in order to differentiate between the items that she wants you to focus on and everything else.

In this book, the main character is a French foreign exchange student named Noemie. The book is peppered with French lines, repeated in E
Sep 01, 2009 Travis rated it it was ok
Shelves: graphicnovels
This is a weird entry to peg into a star rating. I was amazed by moments and the art of Hope Larson while reading GRAY HORSES but the book was too short and with all of its charm its not a book I'll go back too for substantive story and more for quick inspiration. See? It's in a weird limbo. The art is amazing and Hope does sound effects and motion effects with the word bubbles that I have never seen before and have a life of their own and become just as important as the characters themselves. T ...more
A lovely visual narrative poem that nurtures dreaminess by gentle strokes without becoming overbearing or mawkish. Don't go into this expecting a "novel;" instead, pay attention to the visual grammar, the color, the brushwork, the sense of light in the thing. There's a lot of reward in it.

There are more and more of these well-crafted, technically and aesthetically conscious, small short pieces coming out now. I know a lot of people find them too short, but I think perhaps they're meant to be som
Simply wonderful. I love Hope Larson's vision and style. The "gray horses" appear throughout the story in several forms, but it doesn't ever feel forced - it feels like that authentic eeriness you experience when coincidences converge, paired in perfect pitch with the elation and terror of discovering a new city. The continuing reappearance of the horses not only worked as a design theme but also as a subtly symbolic one. Larson creates wholly endearing characters and places them in a setting th ...more
Aug 09, 2010 Kemper rated it liked it
First of all, let me say that I am huge fan of Hope Larson's work (and that of her husband Bryan Lee O'Malley) and I heartily suggest her books to anyone who enjoys well written and illustrated graphic novels. That said, this was not my favorite of Larson's books. I recently read Mercury and Gray Horses, read on Mercury's coattails, is obviously the older of the two. Larson takes on more responsibility as a storyteller and artist with Mercury. Gray Horses feels unfinished and the story a little ...more
Jun 01, 2009 Ryan rated it really liked it
This was a lovely, precious little book about a French emigre who comes to the US to enroll in art school.

Larson's got a great ability to tell a story and advance characters without using dialogue, but when she does choose to use dialogue, she does it rather effectively (and bilingually, which was a nice surprise!)

I tried not to make comparisons to Brian Lee O'Malley's work when reading this, but there are some similarities - they both are good at telling stories that seem like 'slice-of-life' t
Oct 29, 2008 Leila rated it really liked it
This is a great graphic novel. The style is a lot Craig Thompson, as well as the themes--which is to say, it's pretty excellent. While a lot of the uses of French were interesting, I also found them a bit distracting. That, and the fact that a review I read said Noemie was a foreign exchange student studying in Paris. Did that person even read this? Boo. It took me many pages to figure out what was actually going on because of that, though I suppose that's my own fault and has nothing to do with ...more
Jul 06, 2008 Hillary rated it really liked it
There's so little to it, but the art and the visual storytelling make it really worthwhile. It's dreamy without being annoyingly so, and it really shows off Larson's interest in dialogue and thought balloons (they can be used to convey much more than they usually are), as well as sensory experiences like heat and smell, which are harder to convey in a two-dimensional visual format. The narrative could be a little clearer--I'm not sure that's what she wants--but the structure of each page and the ...more
Ben Evans
Aug 17, 2012 Ben Evans rated it it was ok
I enjoyed the design of the novel, and actually found myself instantly drawn into the characters (not an easy task), and yet during and after reading it I felt very unaffected by the book.

A very brisk read, and one which I'll do again before returning it to the library, but upon first reading all I can say is I just didn't really connect with it.

However, I would recommend this graphic novel over other titles I've enjoyed more. I feel it could definitely resonate with certain readers powerfully,
Mariana Orantes
Apr 06, 2014 Mariana Orantes rated it liked it
Me gustó mucho, el dibujo hace que parezca todo como en un sueño. Pero la historia se queda un poco corta. Yo diría que es un poco "girly", lo cual no es malo pero tiene trampas. Trampas que no puedo contar en una reseña sin hacer spoilers, sin dar adelantos importantes que sería mejor que descubrieran ustedes mismos en la lectura de esta novela gráfica. La conseguí en fantástico por la módica cantidad de 90 pesos mexicanos. La recomiendo, si, como todo lo bueno que leo.
Nov 25, 2008 Kirsten rated it really liked it
Another lovely waking dream from Hope Larson. Noemie, an exchange student from France, finds Onion City both disorienting and thrilling. There are new friends to be made, and there is the strange, handsome boy who seems to be following her... And at night, there are her dreams of a brave horse and a girl, fleeing mysterious danger. Larson's images flow together, and it is the pictures that truly tell this delicate story, rather than the sparse dialog.
Nov 20, 2009 Renee rated it liked it
Shelves: comics
Beautiful artwork. Larson also does interesting things with dialogue and layout; loads of good visual ideas here. On the downside, I didn't connect with the story/characters. The story is too superficial to be truly touching, and the characters felt generic (also, photo-stalker guy? A little creepy). Still worth a read.
Jul 22, 2008 Phoebe rated it liked it
Shelves: graphicnovels
A sweet, simple graphic novel written in French and English. The tale follows a young exchange student as she makes a friend, meets a mysterious male admirer, and dreams about a girl who rides a gray horse to escape the death of a memory. As a whole, I didn't find the book terribly memorable, though it was a pleasant read.
May 03, 2009 Lisamarie rated it really liked it
This was very pretty and unusual and I love the ways she draws emotions, and facial expressions. I loved all the little household mysteries. I still don't understand why the character reacted the way she did to her stalker, and I still can't figure out what the dream was all about. Maybe I'll read it again, it's short.
Mar 19, 2016 Whitney rated it it was ok
Shelves: comics
This is a quiet, meditative story about a college-age French exchange student settling in to life in the United States. Hope Larson's bold, expressive illustration style and the subtle mixing of French and English makes for a pleasant reading experience, but the story is so brief that there isn't enough time to really make a meaningful connection to the characters or to understand the point.
Oct 30, 2008 Raina rated it liked it
Shelves: ya, graphicnovel
I love Larson's illustration style: she incorporates words in her illustrations to demonstrate nonverbal sounds, smells, tastes, feelings. And I love her spare drawing. The plot of this is kind of nonexistant, but it's a nice portrait of a moment in a young woman's life. Nice relaxing 30 minute read.
Aug 07, 2015 Alenka rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
Lovely and simple! I loved how thoughts, communications and breath slid in and out of people's heads via word balloons. The beginning was a little confusing; I didn't realize right away that we were no longer in the dream about Marcy and the horse. But confusing transitions aside, I really enjoyed Larson's art. It was a nice, short read; a lazy afternoon kind of comic.
Aug 28, 2007 Tina rated it it was ok
Shelves: comics
Meh. Too emo for me. There were a few good moments, but mostly it was the author trying to make everything all symbolic and heavy with meaning. And there were a lot of dream sequences. I hate dream sequences.
May 15, 2011 April rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
Lovely artwork... love the French intertwined with English. Dreamy and romantic story-also with a great friendship... themes of travel and adventure too... what's not to like? Made me wish I had gone to art school :)
Oct 20, 2014 Shoshanna rated it liked it
Also pretty fast and breezy. I love the atmospheric vibe to her comics. Quick read, but you get deeper into the lives and dreams of the characters than Salamander Dream. I know a lot of people really like this, but I just like it mostly OK.
Mar 25, 2008 Robin rated it liked it
Recommends it for: those who like quirky graphic novels
This is one of the titles I received from Oni Press this month. It's a slim volume detailing a young woman's experience as an exchange student from Dijon, France (I place that I stopped in briefly during a trip to Europe during the summer of 1982, but I digress!)
Apr 08, 2011 Peacegal rated it liked it
Like me, the author spends most of her time sleeping or staring pensively at various objects. A great deal of the comic is immersed in the world of dreams. However, let’s face it, other people’s dreams are never as interesting as your own. This book made me long for my own dream world.
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Hope Larson is an American illustrator and comics artist. She lives in Asheville, North Carolina.
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