January 23, 2011

The Night Bookmobile - Audrey Niffenegger

I am not usually a big reader of graphic novels - I love art but when it comes to books words are my true love. However I do make an exception for Audrey Niffenegger as I think her artistic interpretation, her amazing imagination and story telling skills make for a great combination.
The Night Bookmobile is given an intriguing and compelling introduction from Neil Gaiman;

The Night Bookmobile is a love letter, both elegiac and heartbreaking, to the things we have read, and to the readers that we are. It says that what we read makes us who we are.

I couldn't agree more! As with Niffenegger's previous graphic story, The Three Incestuous Sisters, The Night Bookmobile is not a children's story - despite the childlike quality of it's illustrations and the gentle way in which the story starts and looks as though it will be a light and breezy tale of how books impact on our world.

The Night Bookmobile follows Alexandra, a young woman who, after an argument with her partner one night goes for a long walk to get over her anger and discovers a bookmobile which contains every piece of literature and written material that she has ever read. Alexandra becomes entranced by the bookmobile and the idea of finding it again - which she does some years later. She reflects on her life through the books she has consumed - and in a way her reading and her love of books starts to consume her.

This is a magical, if a little scary, story and I was completely taken in by it. Niffenegger writes in the After Words;

When I began writing The Night Bookmobile, it was a story about a woman's secret life as a reader. As I worked it also became a story about the claims that books place on their readers, the imbalance between our inner and outer lives, a cautionary tale of the seduction of the written word.
I think this is a must read for all readers and book lovers everywhere - it raises some great questions and gave me pause for thought about the place reading and books take in my life.


Unknown said...

This sounds lovely! I love Audrey Niffenegger, but haven't tried her graphic novels yet. I must get hold of The Night Mobile soon. :-)

ds said...

I know I am going to adore this book (having loved the bookmobile as a kid)...but it will have to wait a few months. Still, it rates the top of the list. Thanks for the review!

Nadia said...

I want this book! I've been hearing such fantastic things about it - definitely seems like a must read! Loved the pics you included with your great review! Thanks, because I will be purchasing this one ASAP!!

Heather Bond said...

I heard this read by Christina Pickles on Selected Shorts. It was wonderful. I had no idea it was by Audrey Niffenegger. Now I'll have to look for the book. Thanks for the great post!

Lisa@ButteryBooks said...

Sounds like an excellent book, something I could really relate to. I would love to give one to each of my book club members.

Karen said...

Hi Jackie - It is a wonderful book - it really made me think about the impact of reading and bookd on my life.

Hi ds - I hope the wait goes fast!

Hi Nadia - I am looking forward to hearing what you think about this one.

Hi Heather - I think this would be a great book to have read to you - I might have to get someone to do that for me!

Hi Lisa - this would be such a lovely gift book - and I think it would raise a lot of discussion in book groups.

Simon (Savidge Reads) said...

This sounds wonderful indeed. I saw it at Waterstones earlier in the week and now wish I had bought a copy. It's quite new isn't it, and yet I havent heard much about it!

Karen said...

Hi Simon - Yes, I think it is quite new. I haven't seen it at any of our large bookshops in Australia - I bought my copy from one of the smaller, independent bookshops.

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