Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Look to Like, If Looking Liking Move

I've been wanting to draw bloggy attention to Gareth Hinds' beautiful graphic novel adaptation of Romeo and Juliet for ages now. First I was hoping to do it before I left for London/Iceland, but trip preparation got in the way. Then I was hoping to do it upon my return, but reentry kind of knocked me on my ass; then I was hoping to do it in time for NCTE, but work swept me into a vortex, so, hello there, *waves from the vortex*, I failed at that, too. Sigh. But here I finally go!

We all know the story, but I've never seen it told like this before. Gareth brings Verona of the Montagues and Capulets alive; his illustrated adaptation breathes wonderful new life into dialog I'd heard so many times that I believe I'd stopped listening to it. Look at this beautiful cover:

You guys, it has a sword-hilt ampersand.

Over at Gareth's website, he shares a whole lot of the book online, in case you want to see more right away. I really recommend this book. If you're like me, you'll sit down thinking that you're just going to read a few pages, then you'll stay in your chair until you've examined every picture and read the entire thing.

This strikes me as an opportunity to tell a little story about Gareth (who is a friend) and Bitterblue, actually. Sometime after Bitterblue's  release, Gareth dropped me a line. "I have a little something for you," he said. "What's your mailing address?" Intrigued, I gave him my mailing address, then promptly forgot all about it. Until the mail arrived one day and I found a large envelope from Gareth that was well-packed and quite stiff.

Have you, by chance, ever received a large, well-packed, stiff envelope in the mail from a friend who is an artist?

Overcome with excitement, I ran inside and opened the envelope. Those of you who've read Bitterblue, do you remember that the sculptor Bellamew makes a sculpture of her own daughter, Hava, transforming into a bird? Well, here is Gareth's idea of "a little something":

This beautiful drawing now hangs in a position of honor above the bookcase in my office. I love it completely.


HOWEVER, DON'T THINK FOR A MINUTE THAT THIS HEARTWARMING PERSONAL STORY IS THE REASON I LIKE ROMEO AND JULIET! You should all look at this book, because it's great, and you may be moved to like it very much indeed. (That was a clever reference to my subject line (which is a line from Romeo and Juliet), in case you missed it.) :o)