Saturday, 28 January 2012

REVIEW:- Audrey NIFFENEGGER - “The Night Bookmobile“ - And a comment on Graphic Novels

Year Published: - 2010
Where the book was from:- My own copy (2nd hand - ex Highland Libraries)
ISBN: - 978 0224 089 524
Pages: - 40pp
Genre: - Graphic Novel
Location:- Chicago
How I came across it: - Reading reviews
Rating: - ***** ***** (But see below re whether it is a novel)

One sentence summary:- A cartoon format short story about a woman, the books she reads and an unusual mobile library.

Describe the plot without giving anything away:-
A haunting tale of a girl who has an argument with her boyfriend and while wandering the streets afterwards, in the middle of the night, finds a strange mobile library with an unusual librarian.

General comments:- I've never read a 'Graphic Novel' before and I'm not sure that a graphic novel differs much from a cartoon or comic book. So does Asterix count as a novel? I don't really think so. According to Wikipedia “a graphic novel is a narrative work in which the story is conveyed to the reader using sequential art in either an experimental design or in a traditional comics format. The term is employed in a broad manner, encompassing non-fiction works and thematically linked short stories as well as fictional stories across a number of genres. Graphic novels are typically bound in longer and more durable formats than familiar comic magazines, using the same materials and methods as printed books, and they are generally sold in bookstores and speciality comic book shops rather than at newsstands. Such books have gained increasing acceptance as desirable materials for libraries which once ignored comic books.” Even by this definition 'The Night Bookmobile' is at best a Graphic Short Story rather than a Graphic Novel.

With that reservation I have to agree with Neil Gaiman who says “The Night Bookmobile is a love letter, both elegiac and heartbreaking, to the things we have read and to the readers that we are. It says that what we read makes us who we are. It's a graphic short story, beautifully drawn and perfectly told.”
If only one could have one's own night bookmobile to explore in the middle of the night when sleep won't some. How would we react to seeing all those forgotten books; the ones which we didn't finish and the well-thumbed pages of those we have re-read many times? Paradise is a night bookmobile.

AUTHOR Notes:- Audrey Niffenegger was born in 1969 in the USA. debut novel sold nearly 5 million copies worldwide and has been translated into thirty-three languages to date. She is also a widely exhibited artist. She lives in Chicago.


  1. I like your review, giving away without giving away. here is my own review:
    By the way, yes Asterix is probably a comic book, not a graphic novel, but its text is so very smart, with tons of puns on history, etc, much smarter than many current graphic novels I believe

  2. I had no idea that this book even existed, so thanks for this review. I love the idea of a night library, and this sounds like a book I'd enjoy, so I will be looking for it....


Hello folks - your comments are always welcome.