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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