The Night Bookmobile

The Night Bookmobile

2.8 9
by Audrey Niffenegger

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Audrey Niffenegger, the New York Times bestselling author of The Time Traveler’s Wife and Her Fearful Symmetry, has crafted her first graphic novel after the success of her two critically acclaimed “novels-in-pictures.” First serialized as a weekly column in the UK’s Guardian newspaper, The Night

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Audrey Niffenegger, the New York Times bestselling author of The Time Traveler’s Wife and Her Fearful Symmetry, has crafted her first graphic novel after the success of her two critically acclaimed “novels-in-pictures.” First serialized as a weekly column in the UK’s Guardian newspaper, The Night Bookmobile tells the story of a wistful woman who one night encounters a mysterious disappearing library on wheels that contains every book she has ever read. Seeing her history and most intimate self in this library, she embarks on a search for the bookmobile. But her search turns into an obsession, as she longs to be reunited with her own collection and memories.

The Night Bookmobile is a haunting tale of both transcendence and the passion for books, and features the evocative full-color pen-and-ink work of one of the world’s most beloved storytellers.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Novelist and visual artist Niffenegger brings the dark dreaminess that characterized her bestselling novels to her first full-length graphic novel. After a fight with her boyfriend one night, Alexandra goes for a walk and comes upon a bookmobile. When she goes inside to look at the books, she discovers that it’s a library of her own reading history; every book she’s ever read, including her diary, is on the shelf. As her life continues, she searches for the bookmobile, but years go by before she finds it again. Meanwhile she becomes a librarian and a loner, eventually deciding that she wants to work in the bookmobile, though the price for doing so is high. Niffenegger’s full-color art has a naïve tone, with sometimes stiff figures, and text written in childlike script. The simplicity of the images contrasts with sophisticated page layouts in which she plays with panels and perspective. The story was originally serialized in the Guardian, and in an afterword, Niffenegger reveals that the book is the first volume in a larger project. At heart this romantic, melancholy tale is a paean to reading and to the life one person lives through books. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Michael Jung PhD
When book lover Lexi discovers a large bookmobile on one of her nightly strolls, she eagerly boards it—and is amazed when she discovers it holds everything she's read in her life, from novels to telephone books to even her diary! Enchanted, Lexi spends an amazing night reacquainting herself with the books of her youth but is left with a terrible sense of loss when the bookmobile's mysterious owner Mr. Openshaw announces the library is closed and disappears for years. Longing to become part of the Night Bookmobile's world, Lexi withdraws from her friends and spends all of her time reading and searching—only to learn that working for the Night Bookmobile is a goal that may always lie out of her reach. How far will Lexi go to join a world that has already consumed so much of her life? And even if she succeeds, what will her choice cost her? Best known for her celebrated science fiction/romance novel The Time Traveler's Wife, Audrey Niffengger showcases both her writing and artistic talents in this graphic novel that examines the consequences and rewards of obsession. While the graphic novel can easily be mistaken for a child's picture book due to its size and shape, readers should be aware that this is not a light fantasy, as it deals with controversial issues such as obsession and suicide. That said, it is an absorbing work that will leave many readers puzzling over the nature of the bookmobile, and their reaction to Lexi's choices. Reviewer: Michael Jung, PhD
Library Journal
Pacing the 4 a.m. streets of Chicago after boyfriend trouble, Alexandra happens on a bookmobile, lit up and blaring "I Shot the Sheriff." And it's her bookmobile, as it houses every book she has ever read—plus every cereal box, letter, and scribble. Unfortunately, it closes at dawn, so she can't stay long, and librarian Mr. Openshaw explains that she cannot borrow anything and he cannot hire her. Deeply enthralled, Alexandra seeks the bookmobile again and again, even changing her life to become a librarian (and breaking up with the boyfriend). It is not just books she seeks, however, but her own books, her own past, her own identity. This story amounts to a parable about accepting the losses of adulthood, to let go of the wish to hold forever a complete remembrance and understanding of the self. VERDICT Niffenegger (The Time Traveler's Wife) has packed a captivating and eerie story into this short work, originally a webcomic for The Guardian and inspired by an H.G. Wells story. The clear-line color art emphasizes the mystical realism. A unique literary title recommended for adult collections.—M.C.

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Product Details

Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
11.80(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
18 - 12 Years

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The Night Bookmobile 2.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
SleepDreamWrite More than 1 year ago
This was good. That is quite the library. It makes you wonder while its many books, where to even start? That's quite the job though. Yet another book amongst books about books I'm breezing through.
LostSeekingBlue More than 1 year ago
For those of us who have dreamed of the library, this is a glimpse into the mirror of our own souls. For those of you who haven't, it's an interesting tale.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beguile_Thy_Sorrow More than 1 year ago
I picked this one up because it's about a library and I saw the nice blurb by Neil Gaiman on back. Unfortunately I didn't find it at all to be a story "perfectly told". The Night Bookmobile is the first of a larger work being titled The Library, as explained by the author in the "after words". Because of this I feel it's possible that my understanding of the story is in fact out of context until I read the completed book. But since it is published here as a single book, I also find it fair to review it based on itself alone. About the length of a child's picture book, the story follows a woman named Alexandra from a random night in her early adult life when she comes across a mysterious and almost magical-seeming bookmobile. She becomes obsessed with it's existence, its strange librarian Mr. Openshaw, and with finding it again when she realizes its visits are inconsistent. However the story never really makes sense. We never find out why Alexandra gives up so much of her daily life to pursue this bookmobile, or share enough time with her to fully connect. Even so, I could have accepted all of that vague plot and thought the book strange but intriguing had the ending not included her choice at the end to commit suicide just to become a night bookmobile librarian herself. The w.t.f moment of that was just too insane for me. It seemed like a weak attempt to be deep without sufficient storyline and as if it glorified books over life itself at that point. On the flip side I did like the idea of everyone's life being quietly documented through the books they've read, all by librarians on the other side so to speak. Exploring the concept of books as also having the ability to become a channel for checking out of present life and losing oneself in fantasy also made sense as the darker side of loneliness and using reading to live vicariously instead. But overall I still felt this book went dark without any logic or relatable context.
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