Review: Park Bench by Christophe Chaboute

park-bench-9781501154027_lgPark Bench by Christophe Chaboute (Gallery 13, 2017)

Reviewed by Rebecca Valley

In April, I visited Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum in Los Angeles with my mother. It was an impulse decision – it was hot, Madame Tussaud’s was air-conditioned, and deep down my mother and I are both too vain to resist a good photo shoot. We wandered past eerily life-like figures of Snoop Dogg and Betty White into a gallery of movie sets, where I found the thing I didn’t know I was looking for – a young Tom Hanks in a khaki suit, back straight and feet slightly pigeon-toed, seated on a half-empty park bench. Continue reading

Review: One Hundred Nights of Hero by Isabel Greenberg

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One Hundred Nights of Hero by Isabel Greenberg (Little, Brown and Co., 2016)

Reviewed by Rebecca Valley

Before I begin, I should admit that I am absolutely the intended audience for Isabel Greenberg’s latest graphic novel One Hundred Nights of Hero. It is a book which revolves around stories and the women who tell them, and as a poet and long-time reader currently making her living as a children’s librarian, it’s not exactly a wonder that I’d be tickled by this book. That being said, I find that the people who enjoy reading book reviews tend to be those similarly pleased by books that valorize story-telling (i.e. writers, librarians, peddlers of books in all shapes and forms). So I’ll begin, then, by saying that this is a book for story-lovers. It’s littered with tale tales, it’s characters are story-tellers. There is (fortunately) just no avoiding it. Continue reading

Review: Light by Rob Cham

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Light by Rob Cham (Anino Comics, 2016)

Reviewed by Rebecca Valley

How to review a book without words? I was confronted with this dilemma when reading Rob Cham’s graphic novel Light, a comic in which two characters – both, of course, nameless – journey through the dark underworld in search of crystals capable of returning color to earth’s surface. The challenge when reviewing a work without words, or even character names, is the instability of the critique – how can you document the emotional arc of a narrative experienced through visual images alone? Continue reading