02 June 2011

Review: Three Shadows by Cyril Pedrosa

Warning: This review reveals the plot, but readers understand the ending from about page 7.

Louis and Lise and their young son, Joachim, live in the country. Although they work hard, they are in bliss, with plenty of time to laugh and play and read and dance. All that changes the night Joachim sees three riders silhouetted on a nearby ridge.

Joachim, of course, is afraid of the shadows. His parents try to comfort him, although they know why the three have appeared. When the couple understands that the shadows will remain until they have fulfilled their mission, Louis takes the boy faraway and across the sea to escape the watchful eyes of the strangers. But when the shadows come for you, you cannot hide.

Cyril Pedrosa's absorbing and sad Three Shadows examines what parents will do to prevent one of the most difficult trials imaginable: the death of a child. From fear to desperate acts, from acceptance to the reembracing of life, Louis and Lise learn that "We have to make the most of the summer. It never lasts long enough." As for Joachim, he eventually turns to the shadows, losing his fear and going willingly when they finally call.

The black-and-white drawings are powerful in their simplicity, and Pedrosa's short book is one to experience firsthand. You'll read this graphic novel once fairly quickly and then again to remember it, to study the drawings, and to find the seeds of comfort at the end.

Click on the scan to see it full size and get a feel for the artwork and text. Thanks to Vasilly from 1330V for telling me about Three Shadows.

Give it to me quickly: A moving tale of parental love, grief, and finally peace.

Three Shadows at Powell's
Three Shadows at Book Depository
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Published by First Second, 2007 (translated from the French)
ISBN-13: 9781596432390
YTD: 51
Source: Borrowed (see review policy).
Rating: B
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)


Sheila (Bookjourney) 6/2/11, 10:38 AM  

Good morning! I recently seen this book somewhere and was curious about it.... now I am really excited about it!

Zibilee 6/2/11, 10:52 AM  

Oh, this does sound like an interesting book, and I love that the shadows are a metaphor for the death of a child. I would love to read this one and see what I think of it for myself. Thanks for the great review on this one. You have piqued my curiosity!

Martha@Hey, I want to read that 6/2/11, 11:11 AM  

I don't know if I can do this one right now. It sounds really interesting but just not for me, now. I'll add it to my fall/winter list.

Beth Hoffman 6/2/11, 3:22 PM  

The cover alone is incredibly moving. Terrific review!

Belle Wong 6/2/11, 4:01 PM  

This sounds like a very intense read. Great review!

Vasilly 6/2/11, 5:55 PM  

Yay! I'm happy to know that you enjoyed Three Shadows. It's such an interesting book that tells a story in such an unusual way.

Margot 6/2/11, 7:19 PM  

It sounds so sad. Even the pictures look sad. But I'm looking for graphic novels with good drawings and a well written story. I will see if my library has a copy.

Swapna 6/3/11, 9:23 AM  

I read the whole review, and I think that you reviewed it incredibly well! Instead of feeling like the plot is ruined for me, you really make me want to pick this book up.

Unknown 6/5/11, 1:53 PM  

I read this one back in 2008, and remember that it was a really powerful story and the artwork was incredible.

bermudaonion 6/5/11, 7:30 PM  

This sounds really sad to me.

Tea,  6/6/11, 3:06 PM  

Wow, I'll bet this is an emotional graphic comic. I give my heart to people who lose their children in death. It seems like too much for the heart to bear. Great review. Thank you.

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