So What Are You Reading?

Reviews of Books.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Aphrodite Book 1 by Pierre Louys

Aphrodite Book 1 by Pierre Louys with illustrations by Milo Manara

This book is beautiful in many ways, but is disappointing at times. The combination of Louys' text and Manara's art is a sure winner. Originally published in France with the original French text, this English version chooses an anonymous, but wonderful, translation from the 1920's. Following a long tradition of publishing this work with sensuous illustrations, the publisher has come up with a new approach. They will publish an original one volume novel in four volumes and illustrate each with the work of a different artist. This first volume contains 15 full-page watercolors by Milo Manara, an artist better known for his adult comics. Those expecting Manara to have converted Louys' sensual story into a graphic novel may be surprised that this is not the case. Where Manara shines as a comic artist, his watercolors are uneven. While some are outstanding, the painting of the statue of Aphrodite is a disappointment. The illustrated binding and layout is sumptuous. This promised to be a beautiful set with Georges Bess and Wendling slated to illustrate volumes 2 and 3. It is wonderful to see Louys' work getting this lavish treatment. The text is still vibrant enough to take on the sensual artwork of these modern artists.

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