So I checked this book out of the library at the same as Niffenegger's other illustrated novel The Three Incestuous Sisters. I read The Adventuress se
So I checked this book out of the library at the same as Niffenegger's other illustrated novel The Three Incestuous Sisters. I read The Adventuress second, and I found myself flipping through it much faster than I had with the other visual novel. As Niffenegger explains in what amounts to The Afterword, she created this book in two years while she was studying art in Chicago. In comparison, it is clear that The Three Incestuous Sisters was a labor of love over the course of many, many years. The aquatints in this book are simpler, more straightforward, but even more full of energy, movement and action than the latter work.
The plot moves pretty quickly in this book. Actually, it is a bit jumpy, but that could have to do more with the story and the nature of the protagonist. The Adventuress is no ordinary protagonist. She was a magical creation, and so her life is something far beyond ordinary. In this book more than the other, the aquatints use facial expressions and other subtleties of line in place of color contrast to portray the nuances of the protagonist.
Sure, at first you might be thinking a book with pictures is for kids, but this visual novel is so much more than something childish, not to mention t
Sure, at first you might be thinking a book with pictures is for kids, but this visual novel is so much more than something childish, not to mention the content is very mature. For a book of few words, Niffenegger has created an enthralling stories and characters with depth. Timeless themes of love, loss, jealousy and violence, among others, find careful treatment via the few, well-chosen words that are paired with the often intricate, at times disturbing aquatints.
As I read this book, I spent only a couple of seconds reading the words paired with each image, but I then spent several minutes investigating the depth of each individually, lovingly created aquatint illustration. In each aquatint, Niffenegger has paired simplistic elements, like figures that are essentially line drawings, with more complex contexts and situations that carry the weight of telling the story. Altogether, the story and the accompanying aquatints, or rather the story told through the aquatints and accompanied by a spare scattering of words, creates a disturbing sense of some dark reality. The best part is that amidts the darkness, the reader finds pieces of real beautiful and uplifting moments.
Some reviews have considered the brevity of this illustrated novel as something of a downfall. People don't always take "a picture book" seriously, but this book needs to be seen and "read" as a work of art. Some reviewers have said they read this book in ten minutes. Sure, that's possible, but do you spend only ten minutes looking at a good painting? Take the time to really see the art of these aquatints, and you will appreciate the depth of this book.
I wanted more. This almost–excellent blending of narrative and illustration seemed to hold such potential... but just fell a bit short of the depth, cI wanted more. This almost–excellent blending of narrative and illustration seemed to hold such potential... but just fell a bit short of the depth, complexity and emotional development that I was hoping for....more