The recent announcement by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that that graphic novel will become a television series has had a mixed reaction by many in my circles. Either people have sung the praises of the book or have not heard of the award-winning graphic novel. So I decided to check out Jeff Lemire’s Essex County here. And I was impressed.
Page 5 – Introduction by Darwyn Cooke
(T) his all adds up to is a work of unexpected maturity that speaks on a universal level, but holds special rewards for those familiar with life in rural Canada. Essex County is a tremendous achievement made all the more incredible when we consider the relative youth of the author. This heartfelt piece of graphic literature surpasses its form to stand as what I’m sure will be an enduring example of the finest in Canadian Literature proper.
Cooke is right on in those words. Lemire manages to capture something here about the Canadian spirit. Something in the drawings and the few words show the loneliness of the fields or the joy of the ice-hockey game. There is something unique and familiar in the plots that he has created here.
Lemire explores many aches through his characters here. It is melancholic and sad at times. But that is what makes this book great literature. It explores those elements of the human condition and makes readers consider them in their own lives.
It is going to be interesting how the television series of Jeff Lemire’s Essex County will turn out but the graphic-novel version is a great piece of literature on it own for sure.