The Red Virgin And The Vision Of Utopia is graphic, historical novel. Perhaps it’s best to call it a biography, either way you should probably track down a copy.
Set in the Paris Commune of 1871 the book tells the story of Louise Michel, ‘The Red Virgin’, who helped lead an anarchist uprising in the wake of the French Republic’s defeat at the hands and arms of Prussia.
It’s easy to say that this book is good. It’s harder to pin point why. Like most graphic novel’s I’ve read I almost couldn’t read it fast enough. With clear, rich art work and an good, solid writing style it’s typical of this ever expanding style of novel.
What really grabbed me, though, as I’ve detailed in the video below was it’s sense of duty to the reader and the public at large. This really is what all great stories are made of.
Find a copy, maybe do some further reading on the protagonist. Mainly, find the hope that Mary and Bryan Talbot so clearly want to give you.
Latest vlog below.
The Bridge is my favourite of Iain Banks’ fiction novels. After seeing it on a friend’s book shelf I read it in a near panic one humid summer’s afternoon in London. It’s short and drags you along by throwing more and more questions into your path. It is exactly the type of novel I want to read, exactly the type of novel I want to be able to write.
It has been claimed by at least one source that it is actually set within Iain M. Banks’ (his sci-fi writing alter-ego) Culture universe. It’s more likely that Mr Banks’ was just trying out some of the ideas that would later make it into those novels.
Set between three aspects of the same man, The Bridge explores his waking life and a history of it, and a coma world where the present in the story is set.
In the coma the man lives on a vast bridge, suggested to be hundreds or even thousands of miles long. He is psychoanalysed by day and dreams at night.
One of these dreams involves him trapped on a smaller mobile bridge that keeps him forever just a few paces away from his desires. There’s a Marxist analysis of this that’s fairly obvious but I think upon re-reading it this time I was more struck by what a feminist might say. If you think you can further my understanding of this excerpt from that POV, please let me know.
In the mean-time, I mostly love this section for the end. As Mr Banks always did best he leaves the reader with a very powerful image.