Collected Essex County by Jeff Lemire

Collected Essex County by Jeff Lemire

Genre: Graphic Novel
Format: Trade Paperback
Publisher: Top Shelf Productions
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 510
Source: Library

The Short Version:
Originally published as a trilogy of graphic novels, this collected edition includes some additional material.

Why I Read It:
I read the three books in the trilogy over a period of several months but knew partway through that I wanted to reread them again back to back. Fortunately my library had this collected edition available.

The Book:
From the back cover:
Where does a young boy turn when his whole world suddenly disappears? What turns two brothers from an unstoppable team into a pair of bitterly estranged loners? How does the simple-hearted care of one middle-aged nurse reveal the scars of an entire community, and can anything heal the wounds caused by a century of deception? Award-winning cartoonist Jeff Lemire pays tribute to his roots with Essex County, an award-winning trilogy of graphic novels set in an imaginary version of his hometown, the eccentric farming community of Essex County, Ontario, Canada. In Essex County, Lemire crafts an intimate study of one community through the years, and a tender meditation on family, memory, grief, secrets, and reconciliation. With the lush, expressive inking of a young artist at the height of his powers, Lemire draws us in and sets us free. This new edition collects the complete, critically-acclaimed trilogy (Tales from the Farm, Ghost Stories, and The Country Nurse) in one deluxe volume! Also included are over 40-pages of previously unpublished material, including two new stories.

My Thoughts:
I am an unabashed fan of Jeff Lemire’s work. I had already read the three books that make up his Essex County Trilogy. My reviews of those as individual works have already been posted.
Tales from the Farm
Ghost Stories
The Country Nurse

While they work just fine as related stories there is a definite long term story through the trilogy and experiencing it again was something I was glad I did. Part of that was because in reading them straight through I could immerse myself in the feeling of the story and the world of the characters. Part of it was that having read the story I was glad to be back at the beginning with full knowledge of how it ended. I think reading it all together made a highly evocative story even more so.

Lemire has a talent for expressing incredible emotion from his deceptively simple drawing style. It seems so sparse but it says so much.

The extras in this collected edition are some artwork and images of some of the promotional materials from the initial publication of the trilogy.

The two additional stories are not anything that changes the big picture of the story but are interesting side notes to what I’d already read. Originally planned as part of the trilogy they were later edited out and became adjunct stories. Lemire opted to include them in this collected edition and I was glad to read then as well as his original intentions about them.

The Essex County Trilogy is a wonderful series. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend seeking out this one volume collected edition. I fell in love with the story all over again. I honestly think it works better as one book rather than three

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5