Monday, April 20, 2009

Britten and Brülightly by Hannah Berry

This was a really interesting graphic novel for me. I really don’t read too many except for Fables and Y the Last Man and a small handful of others, so when this came in the mail I wasn’t sure what I would make of it – it being so different in content and tone.

It is dark – and I mean that literally and in several ways. It is set in a city where it never stops raining, and the art and mood reflect that. There is a liberal use of grey in the not very wide color palette. You’d think that might make it boring, but in actuality when the artist introduces a new color, it is extremely striking. Several pages might be dominated by purple, green, or blue along with the ever present grey. It makes the art pop.

Fernandez Britten, our private eye whom prefers to be called researcher because it has less connotations has earned himself the name “Heartbreaker.” Not because he is a gigolo or anything, but rather because his inquiries often turn up information that breaks the hearts of his clients. A man of few expressions other than his quiet reserved depression, it is Britten who supplies most of the humor in the story through his communication with his “partner” Brülightly – a teabag. Clearly even a man as downtrodden as Britten needs to communicate with someone – even if it is only himself.

“Don’t be lecherous: you’re a teabag.”

“I’m a teabag with needs, fern.”

The writing is particularly strong. Descriptive while still being spare, dark but infused with humor, a clear difference between Britten’s narration and what he speaks aloud. The mystery is complicated enough to warrant a re-read of sections and was well-thought out enough to be surprising.

I really enjoyed this.

1 comment:

Jordan said...

I just read this and loved it as well! Would you please add this review to a website that I created called ? So far my review is the only one on there for this novel, and I'd love there to be more! I hope you join :)