Ceci's Reviews > Harlequin Valentine

Harlequin Valentine by Neil Gaiman
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's review
Oct 13, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: all-time-favs, magical-literature
Recommended for: people interested in art, tradition, history and weird but wonderful stories

Harlequin Valentine is such a delightful cocktail of quirkiness, oddity and romaticism that one cannot help but love it. I have always enjoyed pantomimes and the harlequinades (which I've only seen on film and in classib British tv series) and this is a charming re-telling of the old tale of the Harlequin and Columbine in the best Commedia dell'Arte tradition.

At first, I wasn't sure if I liked Bolton's illustrations, as beautiful and eerie as they are since they looked so much like eighties' fashion pictures -- but then I realized that was probably the whole point. The book strangely reminds me of A-ha's old hit music video Take On Me, and no surprise, because that if something is uber eighties stuff and a similar wild leap from the gritty reality to an alternative existence, the harlequinade where roles are dropped and new ones adopted at the tip of a colorful hat.

I enjoyed the little graphic novel immensely, especially Gaiman's magical storytelling, and went searching for more similar tales to read, and found my favorite amongst Dame Agatha's books -- The Mysterious Mr (Harley) Quin. He too is a shadowy figure, like the Harlequin... Good or evil, no-one can say. He is potentially dangerous, and a strange trickster, but then again, so is love.

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