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Essex County

(Essex County #1-3)

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  9,651 ratings  ·  964 reviews
Where does a young boy turn when his whole world suddenly disappears? What turns two brothers from an unstoppable team into a pair of bitterly estranged loners? How does the simple-hearted care of one middle-aged nurse reveal the scars of an entire community, and can anything heal the wounds caused by a century of deception?

Award-winning cartoonist Jeff Lemire pays tribute
Paperback, 512 pages
Published August 1st 2009 by Top Shelf Productions (first published June 15th 2009)
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Bruce Geils Life magic; mystery of creation. Destiny, personal transformation, alchemy. You know... crow-like things.

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Average rating 4.31  · 
Rating details
 ·  9,651 ratings  ·  964 reviews

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Swaroop Kanti
Jul 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
wow! So much of life, heart and depth...

Jeff Lemire's Essex County is more like a bunch of sketches when compared to all these other modern colorful graphic novels. But, from a value perspective, Essex County has so much of depth, meaning, heart and emotion, which most of these colorful and bright graphic novels do not exhibit even at a minimum level.

This trilogy of graphic novels is a must-read. Essex County can be considered as an example of a meaningful and influential graphic novel. The cha
This is Lemire's magnum opus. Love, heartbreak, loneliness, regret, friendship, family. The human condition pressed into one rural Canadian county. It's absolutely beautiful. And I read it in two hours.

What I love about Essex County is its ethereal bending of reality, the way memory or imagination can be true but also false. The way Lester can fly, or Lou can travel through time. The ethereal, the way these characters' stories are intricately tied together like a Faulkner story, as well as the s
Dec 28, 2019 rated it did not like it
I'm so sorry.
I know this is a beloved graphic novel, but I just didn't like it at all.


Maybe it's because I don't understand the deeper meaning behind sports (hockey, in this case), or maybe because I'm not Canadian, or possibly it's because my crusty heart looks like a shriveled up chunk of beef jerky?
But I was expecting to feel something when I closed Essex County.
And I did. Just not anything that gave me the warm & fuzzies or made my eyes glisten with tears.
I felt like I had wasted my time wi
Jan 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The more I read comics, the more I appreciate comics like this.

The first comic I read back in 1998 or so was Miller's Dark Knight Returns. The second was Moore's Watchmen.

Since then I've read me a lot of superhero comics. Some of them are really fine. I enjoy the hell out of a good batman story, and Whedon's X-men was some damn fine storytelling.

But comics like this one and Blankets are an entirely different sort of story. They're stories about regular people living their lives, and I love se
David Schaafsma
Essex County (2011) is a collection of three linked graphic short stories set in Essex County, Ontario by Jeff Lemire. The three short stories are published separately as "Tales from the Farm (2008)," "Ghost Stories (2008)," and "The Country Nurse (2009)," but make sense as a graphic novel. Two other shorter stories titled "The Essex County Boxing Club" and "The Sad and Lonely Life of Eddie Elephant Ears" are also included in the collection, and they are part of the world, but not directly part ...more
Jul 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Teresa by: rhea
I almost finished this in one night and I could probably read it again; it's that good, with that much depth: literary fiction at its best.

It's hard to say which of the three books collected here was my favorite, though the middle one, "Ghost Stories," the tale of two hockey-playing brothers from youth to their estrangement to old age probably elicited the most emotion from me. Within about ten pages I'd felt for the young boy and the old man whose paths cross in the snow, almost teared up at a
Nov 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-manga
Astonishing is the word that fits to the review of it.

It was beautiful. Poignant narration.

The pictures are heart-breaking. They will stay in your mind for a long time.
Such strong impact they will have.

Do read this comic series when you find time.
Sam Quixote
Jul 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book collects together what I think is one of the greatest achievements in comics in the last 10 years, Jeff Lemire's Essex County stories.

Essex County is a part of Ontario, Canada, and the three books collected here - Tales from the Farm, Ghost Stories, and The Country Nurse - explores the area and it's inhabitants.

Tales from the Farm follows a lonely boy called who has recently lost his mother, never knew his father, and is in the care of his uncle. The two have an awkward relationship
Jerry Jose
Sep 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book broke me. And then it fixed me.

With Jeff Lemire’s name and bright cover art, I was expecting something heart-warming. It was warm, in fact too warm that it managed to melt my heart a little bit.

Like the title says, it is the story of Essex County, an agrarian Hockey town, of its people and their lives spanning over generations. There are three separate stories that subtly segue between various characters and time periods. There is a prevailing sense of loneliness and longing in every c
Aug 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is kind of story Lemire excels at. Slow, atmospheric and with carefully dosed pathos.

Couple of reasons why I'm not giving it 5 stars.

First, I didn't care much illustrations. They are really basic and characters where hard to differentiate at times. I did like color pallet though.

Second, last story isn't on par with first two. It's still good but definitively weak link in this series.

And third, this is personal story and I think it would have greater impact if I grew in similar environment,
May 18, 2011 rated it it was ok
book #14 for Jugs & Capes!
book #13 for my review series at CCLaP!

Check out how cool Canada is: While we’re drooling over Real Housewives of Who the Fuck Cares, they’re watching a show called Canada Reads, where five famous people each pick a book and defend it, and then they all vote one book off each day, winding up with one winner, the book that “all of Canada should read.” That is fucking rad.

I learned about that only because Essex County was in this year’s running—the first graphic novel t
Maria (Big City Bookworm)

#Read-EH-Thon Book #1

Essex County was the first book that I decided to pick up as part of Read-EH-Thon, a read-a-thon in which you are tasked to read books by Canadian authors! I have had this book sitting on my shelf for way too long now and I'm so glad I was able to finally pick it up. So many people told me how amazing it was, including the man who sold it to me at Fan Expo Canada a couple years back!

It definitely lived up to the expectations! This story is told in three major parts, each fe
Melania 🍒
May 03, 2018 rated it really liked it

Even if I didn’t feel a strong personal connection with these stories, I can appreciate their value. The Essex County feels like an intimate work , even more because it’s written and illustrated by the same person and because it is, above everything else, a Canadian story ( Lemire being Canadian). The art style is interesting - simple yet complex - and I have to admit it took me some time to get used to it. But those black and white drawings , especially the crow and those closeups of the
Tim The Enchanter
Emotional and Accessible - 5 Stars

I don't read many comics or graphic novels in any given year. From time to time, one looks interesting enough to pick up and read through. Being that this is set where I live and grew up, the story was especially significant.

There are several stories in the work told from the perspective of three main characters. Essex County is the major connection between the stories. The setting is developed to the point that it becomes a character and he uses several plot
James DeSantis
May 21, 2017 rated it liked it
I so expected this to be one of my favorite graphic novels of all time. A deep, emotional, powerful story + Jeff Lemire's writing + Dark and twisted art. But...

What I liked: The three separate stories made it fresh to go through a 500+ page book. I also liked some of the imagery. Dark and lost, deep and sad, you really felt the emotion from the characters. I also liked how the lives all intertwined with each of them. The ending result was also sweet, bitter, and left unfinished but not in a bad
Book Riot Community
I’m rereading this for my Canadian comics class and I’m reminded, yet again, of what a masterpiece it is. This intergenerational story of life on a rural Ontario farm — and the dreams, be they of hockey or of superheroes, that sustain those lives — is moving and heartbreaking. Lemire’s art style is deceptive: what looks rushed and sketched belies an incredible depth of emotion (you will never, ever forget the eyes in this comic). I have no problem labelling this The Great Canadian Graphic Novel ...more
Jul 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I discovered Jeff Lemire through some of his superhero books like "Green Arrow" and "Animal Man" and already liked his writing quite a bit. During those reads I realized that I'm into the more subtle, personal and even depressing stories. That brought Lemire's earlier works to my attention and I found an affordable copy of "The Complete Essex County", which is now (officially!) one of my favorite books.

The balance between human misery, sadness and small but powerful, heartwarming scenes and sing
Oct 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Such an incredible and beautiful book. It's hard to describe or even discuss for me for some reason, but I wholeheartedly recommend it.
Dec 10, 2015 rated it liked it
Okay read. Kinda semi-biographical maybe? About living in Essex county that is in the Ontario province of Canada. My guess is that Canadian readers rated this high.
Jun 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Very Canadian, yet very universal. The Complete Essex County is a wonderful interconnecting trio of stories about community, family, loneliness, aging, etc.. I'm not good at talking about art, but there's a sparseness to it that fits the quiet nature of the stories perfectly. I didn't really know what to expect when I picked this one up, but I sure as hell didn't expect for it to quietly sneak right into my feels. Not my last Lemire, that's for sure.
Apr 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I'm a little ashamed to say that I started this book years ago and only finished now. Why, you ask? I seem to have this weird thing where I'm afraid to read masterpieces. I don't know what it is, I haven't really been able to place the reason for this quirk. Sometimes when I start a truly good book, I get a weird sense of anxiety about finishing it. You only get to read something for the first time once.

Well, I had read Tales from the Farm, the first story in this, and it left me feeling a lot.
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
You know... Jeff Lemire!
Rob Kristoffersen
Sep 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Hype. I hate the word, but yet I buy into it. Or I try to cast it aside. 'Collected Essex County' boasts multiple awards, including literary awards in Canada. In comics, breaking through the fourth wall means being that benchmark for literature. Transcending images on the page to stand proudly on a shelf with, in this case, the Margaret Atwoods or Michael Ondaatjes of the world. No cartoonist ever sets out to do this on purpose; hell, they're just doing what they know how to do in the best way t ...more
Dec 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It's entry into the Canadian Literary Canon is well deserved. It speaks to the Canadian experience, both rural and urban living, and the importance of hockey to our culture. The art, how the author uses the stark contrast between black and white, with a soft grey-scale for the initial flashbacks, is masterful.

One feature that particularly shone out for me was how the author uses the features of the characters to show how they're related to one another. It truly echoes the way
Dani Shuping
Nov 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novel
Essex County is a powerful story that will pull at your heartstrings from the moment that you pick it up. Lemire weaves three seemingly distinct stories of families in Essex County, spanning multiple timelines, and then...quietly without the reader even noticing he weaves them together into a story on community and family. Lemire has crafted a timeless tale, one that will still hold meaning long into the future as it touches upon topics that will never grow old. He brings a unique look and persp ...more
Get X Serious
Sep 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
So much of being human is finding significance in the insignificant.

You and me? We aren't superheroes. I don't know jack shit about being rich or famous or having superhuman abilities. The drama that unfolds in my life is subtle, like the box of photos in the basement, or the words unspoken by two brothers, or the too-long-eye-contact of the man working at the convenience store, or that game where I scored a hat-trick as a kid.

There's no earth shattering significance to those moments, no grand a
Stewart Tame
Apr 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Lovely! Originally published as three separate volumes, this book delves into the lives of some of the inhabitants of Essex County, Ontario. The stories intertwine with each other but can be read in any order. This collected volume also includes a few short stories that tie in as well. Lemire has a way of depicting quiet, ordinary moments that somehow add up to a deeply affecting whole. The end of Ghost Stories in particular had me fighting back tears. This is excellent work, well worth reading.
Dec 30, 2018 rated it liked it
There was something that didn't make me connect here. I liked the stories but I wasn't head over heels for them.
Andrew Cook
Aug 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
It truly is great. An amazing homage by Jeff Lemire. Definitely recommend it to all!
Apr 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels
Part 1: Tales from the Farm. A lonely ten-year-old orphan lives on a farm with his lonely bachelor uncle, who has no idea how to relate to his charge. He dreams of being a superhero and never removes his mask and cape. He's befriended by the slow guy who runs the county gas station and together they fight off imaginary aliens.

Part 2: Ghost Stories. A senile, deaf, lonely old man muses on his past while drifting in and out of senile dementia (the transitions between past-present and confusion-luc
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Jeff Lemire is a New York Times bestselling and award winning author, and creator of the acclaimed graphic novels Sweet Tooth, Essex County, The Underwater Welder, Trillium, Plutona, Black Hammer, Descender, Royal City, and Gideon Falls. His upcoming projects include a host of series and original graphic novels, including the fantasy series Ascender with Dustin Nguyen.

Other books in the series

Essex County (3 books)
  • Essex County, Vol. 1: Tales from the Farm
  • Essex County, Vol. 2: Ghost Stories
  • Essex County, Vol. 3: The Country Nurse

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