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Bourbon Island 1730
posted November 24, 2008


Creators: Appollo, Lewis Trondheim
Publishing Information: First Second, softcover, 280 pages, November 2008, $17.95
Ordering Numbers: 9781596432581 (ISBN13), 1596432586 (ISBN10)

The most welcome and appealing aspect of this graphic novel is its length and the pace with which its narrative unfolds as a result. Because it deals with the death of two mythical creatures -- the dodo and the pirate -- and the ways that science and myth are equal partners in distorting the reality of that which is reported because of the unreliability of their agents, it's good to have so many pages to let yourself sink down to the level of a major player and let this world wash over you. It's more the manner in which the story is conveyed than the story itself that distinguishes the book. Very little happens that's extraordinary, but the emotional, intellectual and even spiritual consequences of those events find their grip, sometimes because of the reduction in stakes. It seems to me largely a book about death: death of tradition, death as a series of small and dehumanizing defeats, death of pride, the death of a species, marriage as a compromise against the unknown. The creep of the story isn't only its most obvious distinguishing factor, it eventually becomes the point, the roll of life against all expressions of hope and constructions that connote meaning. Bourbon Island 1730 may work in a minor key, but I liked the ideas embraced: a not very adventurous adventure book, the whinge and cry of romance gone extinct.