'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Monday 7 May 2018

Review: Poe: Stories and Poems

The brilliance of Gareth Hinds’ illustrations adds a magical force to this outstanding adaption of seven stories and poems by Edgar Allen Poe.The entries are set between 1842 and1849. 

The illustrations, dark and chilling, match the text. The only one filled with light and pastel colours, is the poem Annabel Lee. Although it is about loss, desolation and death, and said to refer to Poe’s wife’s passing two years before it was written, it stands out due to the glaring difference in presentation.

Each story/poem has a threatening air about it; representative of the death, destruction, decay and doom which fills Poe’s work. This darkness embraces the book’s themes of guilt, murder, insanity and revenge, amongst others. 

In the poem The Bells, after a gentle beginning, powerful repetition forces urgency into the stanzas, propelling the reader forward into a fiery blaze filled with stupendous assonance and alliteration, matched by consuming colours. This rolls into the ghoulish scenes, where language is king and ends with ‘the moaning and groaning of the bells’. 

Although the pieces are dark, they are none the less beautifully clever and make riveting reading. My favourite is Poe’s most popular poem, The Raven, which closes the selection. The illustrations here stand disconnected to all the others. Hinds’ use of black and grey against the white background is perfect.

Hinds chose stories that are ‘creepy, powerful, and highly regarded’. There are generous Author’s Notes on all the entries at the end, which offer a great deal of information about when they were written, and with what happening they were connected.

Illustrations by Hinds of Shakespeare’s work are phenomenal, and deserve a look.  Anyone interested in this talented man’s work should delve further into his impressive form of artistic expression.

Title: Poe: Stories and Poems
Author/Illustrator: Adaption by Gareth Hinds
Publisher: Walker Books
Publication Date: February 2018, $22.99
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 97890763695095
For ages: 12+
Type: Graphic Novel