Audrey Niffenegger - Raven Girl (4 stars)

Audrey Niffenegger - Raven Girl

Good narrative and stunning illustrations from author of The Time Traveller’s Wife

(Abrams ComicArts)

Despite the dark themes in her bestseller The Time Traveller’s Wife, Audrey Niffenegger may not be readily associated with creepy fairytales and body horror. However, the off-kilter beauty (reminiscent of Beardsley and Schiele) of her illustrated work, The Three Incestuous Sisters and The Adventuress, can be more explicitly categorised along these lines, featuring a cat being pulled from a woman’s womb and floating foetuses.

While the squeamish might shy away from this, Niffenegger’s stories have such charm and sweet melancholy, and her illustrations are so wonderful, that you are drawn into her mysterious world. Raven Girl is no different. It tells the story of a postman and a raven who fall in love and have a child who is born human but has a raven’s voice. She longs to be fully raven, and it’s here that this fable takes a modern twist through means more medical than magical.

Although Niffenegger’s prose is not her strong point, with often jarring and clunky sentences, she weaves a good narrative and her aquatint illustrations are stunning, making this book-as-object an item to covet.

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