‘Glass Town’ by Isabel Greenberg

My rating: 4 stars

To create the graphic novel Glass Town, Isabel Greenberg drew inspiration from the lives of the Brontë siblings (Charlotte, Anne, Emily and Branwell) and their juvenilia. Although it can certainly be read by those not familiar with their later work, it also features various allusions to the most renowned novels written by the sisters, which are a welcome bonus.

Grief had always been present in the life of the Brontë siblings. Not only had their mother passed away, but they had also lost two siblings. On the bright side, they could read all the books in their father’s library. Plus, they also liked to come up with their own stories.

Once, when their father returned from Leeds, he brought with him a set of toy soldiers. That was the spark that led the siblings to create a new fantasy world. Thanks to the indomitable power of their creativity and the inspiration drawn from various books, Glass Town was born and populated with various characters with a shared story of their own.

The graphic novel is not only divided in chapters, but there are also visually distinguishable sections within them. While the real life of the siblings was drawn in light pink, mulberry and black, the stories they created have a more colourful presentation, as the colours blue, red and mustard stand out. Occasionally, as the two worlds come together, a new colour palette is introduced, and a greyish blue plus light brown take over.

Graphic novels continue not to be my favourite type of books. Speech balloons can be trying and the emotions conveyed are almost always not as poignant. Glass Town is, however, a worthy story about four siblings, loss and the danger of being captured in a fictional world.

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