The Marvels


In The Marvels, Brian Selznick fuses another remarkable artistic and story-telling achievement that weaves together two seemingly unrelated stories – one through words, the other through sumptuous illustrations.

The illustrated story begins in 1766 with Billy Marvel, the lone survivor of a shipwreck, and tells of the adventures of his family of actors over five generations. The prose story follows Joseph, who has run away from school to an estranged uncle’s bizarre house in Spitalfields, London, as he pieces together a host of mysteries.

Selznick almost single-handedly invented this mixture of picture book and historical fiction narrative and his famous work ‘The Invention of Hugo Cabret’ was the subject of a highly successful movie adaptation directed by Martin Scorsese.  ‘The Marvels’ is filled with mystery, vibrant characters, surprise twists, and heart-rending beauty, and is a moving tribute to the power of story.  It’s on many lists as one of the best books of 2017 and would be a perfect gift book, for Christmas or any other occasion for that matter!

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The Marvels

Brian Selznick

(Scholastic) – Hardback

The Marvels is a book that both children and adults will love. It weaves together two seemingly unrelated stories – one in words, the other in pictures. The illustrated story begins in 1766, while the prose story opens in 1990.
The illustrations are captivating and cinematic, and draw the reader into the fascinating history of the Marvel family. Selznick is especially skilled at showing the passage of time and the emotions of characters.
The illustrated story ends quite abruptly and mysteriously, leaving the reader desperate to figure out just what happened to the Marvels.  In particular, how they are connected to Joseph and his family? Selznick leaves a trail of tantalising clues throughout the prose story.  The climactic reveal is definitely worth the wait.
The Marvels is more than just a mystery.  Primarily, it is a heart-warming story about growing up, identity, and family.  Importantly, Selznick delves into the identities and families that we are born into but also the ones we make for ourselves. It is also a book for anyone who loves London, the theatre, a good mystery or a wonderful story.
Bookwagon is proud to also stock Brian Selznick’s Kaleidoscope.
Readers will be interested to find out more about the Dennis Severs House, which features so prominently in The Marvels.



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