I started reading The Marvels by Brian Selznick. I have read and loved his previous two books, Hugo & Wonderstruck, although I probably loved Hugo the most because it was the first. I technically haven’t finished his new and massive 665 page book but I did finish the first 390 page illustrated portion so I decided to write about that part while it’s fresh in my mind.
This is the wonderful stage. The Marvel family is a family of theater buffs. Billy, the first Marvel we meet, is the sole survivor of a shipwreck in 1766 where the book begins. He finds a baby backstage, Marcus, and raises him as his own. Marcus is a wonderful actor and has a son named Alexander. He turns out to be a bit of a crack and goes a bit crazy. He is also left a son backstage, his real son, and names him Oberon. Oberon is a wonderful actor as well and continues the generations of theater buffs in the Marvel family. He also has a son and names him Leontes, called Leo. Leo is the first of his family to not be interested in theater. He misses his cues and just plain doesn’t do his part, leaving his parents stalling for lines and standing on the stage in misery. Once Leo’s story ends (in 1900) we are taken out of the illustrations and into a story of words.
Selznick does write his stories with a mixture of words and illustrations but in Hugo and Wonderstruck they were combined. You would have words and then illustrations and back and forth for the whole novel. Never has he separated them into two. I’m not sure how I feel about it. But since that portion seems to have come to a conclusion and we’re moving on to a completely different time (1990) and presumably a different set of people I thought I’d write about the beginning.