Raven Girl

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Overview


Once there was a Postman who fell in love with a Raven.
So begins the tale of a postman who encounters a fledgling raven while on the edge of his route and decides to bring her home. The unlikely couple falls in love and conceives a child—an extraordinary raven girl trapped in a human body. The raven girl feels imprisoned by her arms and legs and covets wings and the ability to fly. Betwixt and between, she reluctantly grows into a young ...
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Overview


Once there was a Postman who fell in love with a Raven.
So begins the tale of a postman who encounters a fledgling raven while on the edge of his route and decides to bring her home. The unlikely couple falls in love and conceives a child—an extraordinary raven girl trapped in a human body. The raven girl feels imprisoned by her arms and legs and covets wings and the ability to fly. Betwixt and between, she reluctantly grows into a young woman, until one day she meets an unorthodox doctor who is willing to change her.
One of the world’s most beloved storytellers has crafted a dark fairy tale full of wonderment and longing. Complete with Audrey Niffenegger’s bewitching etchings and paintings, Raven Girl explores the bounds of transformation and possibility.

Praise for Raven Girl:

“With her signature wit, wry melancholy, and keen gothic sensibility, Niffenegger weds the fabulous with the deeply human in this concentrated, suspenseful fable. . . .” ---Booklist, Starred Review

The book is a colorist’s dream that hauntingly captures the world of birds and humans and, as the title suggests, a creature that is somewhere in between.” – The Chicago Sun-Times

“Niffenegger (The Night Bookmobile) blends art and prose in this eerie picture book for adults.” —Publishers Weekly

“Raven Girl is a delight to hold and take in. Lovers of fairy tales and some graphic novel fans should find much to love here.”
School Library Journal online
 
"A haunting grown-up fairy tale" – Variety Magazine

“Provocative and beautiful.” —ForeWord Reviews

“A runaway hit? This one’s going to fly.” DailyCandy
 
“It’s a lovely story.” —Chicago Reader

Raven Girl is an insidious intermingling of words and pictures to be treasured.”—Tor.com
 

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Niffenegger (The Night Bookmobile) blends art and prose in this eerie picture book for adults. The modern world takes on a fairy-tale cast as a postman falls in love with a raven; their daughter, stuck in a human body but able to speak only in the raven language, yearns to fly. As a college student, the raven girl learns of the possibility that she may surgically be given wings, thus transforming her body to better reflect her true nature. The tale takes a dark turn when a boy who harbors an unhealthy obsession for the raven girl—believing himself to be saving her—commits a murder. Niffenegger’s images are not as polished as her prose; her humans have a slightly cartoonish feel, but her ravens are beautifully detailed, with feathers that seem as though they could fly off the page. The muted color choices suit the surreal tone of the novella. The unsettling nature of the tale is reminiscent of Swan Lake, and it is fitting that this story will also be debuting as a London Royal Ballet performance. (May)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781419707261
  • Publisher: Abrams ComicArts
  • Publication date: 5/7/2013
  • Pages: 80
  • Sales rank: 389,330
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Audrey Niffenegger
Audrey Niffenegger is the author of the international bestsellers The Time Traveler’s Wife and Her Fearful Symmetry, as well as a fine artist who has published three illustrated books with Abrams: The Three Incestuous Sisters, The Adventuress, and The Night Bookmobile. She lives in Chicago and London.

Biography

In her book Three Incestuous Sisters, Audrey Niffenegger tells the tale of a trio of sisters, each with her own special trait. There is blond Bettine, the beautiful one, blue-haired Ophile, the smart one, and then there's Clothilde. While hardly unintelligent and certainly not unattractive, it is still probably no coincidence that Niffenegger decided to cast her fellow redhead Clothilde as the talented one considering that she is so abundant in talent. A gifted illustrator and writer, Niffenegger is parlaying her quirky imagination into one of the most interesting bodies of work in contemporary literature.

Niffenegger's love of writing developed when she was a young girl, quietly spending her time writing and illustrating books as a hobby. Her wonderfully eccentric imaginativeness was in play from her earliest writing efforts. "My ‘first' novel was an epic about an imaginary road trip [sic] I went on with The Beatles," she explains on her website, "handwritten in turquoise marker, seventy pages long, which I wrote and illustrated when I was eleven."

Niffenegger's mini-magical mystery tour may have been her "first novel," but the first one to which the rest of the world would be privy came many years later. She had already established herself as a prominent artist whose work had been shown in the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Library of Congress, and the Houghton Library at Harvard University when The Time Traveler's Wife was published in 2003. "I wanted to write about a perfect marriage that is tested by something outside the control of the couple," Niffenegger told bookbrowse.com. "The title came to me out of the blue, and from the title sprang the characters, and from the characters came the story."

The Time Traveler's Wife, a sci-fi romance about the mercurial time traveler Henry and Clare, the wife who patiently awaits his return to the present, became a sensation upon its publication. This thoroughly original love story captured mass praise from USA Today, The Washington Post, People Magazine, and The Denver Post, not to mention celebrity couple Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt, who promptly purchased the rights to the book and are currently developing it into a motion picture.

Now that she had established herself as a talent to watch, Niffenegger finally had the opportunity to produce a book she would describe as "a fourteen-year labor of love." Three Incestuous Sisters: An Illustrated Novel, is a gorgeous, modern-gothic storybook about the love and rivalry shared between three women. With its minimal text, Niffenegger's chiefly uses her eerie illustrations to convey the sisters' story. Booklist summed up Three Incestuous Sisters quite succinctly by stating that "Niffenegger's grim yet erotic tale and stunningly moody gothic prints possess the sly subversion of Edward Gorey, the emotional valence of Edvard Munch, and her very own brilliant use of iconographic pattern, surprising perspective, and tensile line in the service of a delectable, otherworldly sensibility."

Now, Niffenegger is turning her attentions back to straight prose as she works on a new novel. "It's called Her Fearful Symmetry," she revealed in an online chat with the Hennepin County Library. "It's set in London's Highgate Cemetery, and features as many of the cliches of 19th century fiction as I can summon." Amazingly, with such a wide variety of styles in her still budding body of work -- from science fiction to fairy tale to her impending period piece -- Audrey Niffenegger's books still share a strong sense of unity, a distinctly peculiar and particular vision. "The thing that unites all my work is narrative," she said on her website. "I'm interested in telling stories, and I'm interested in creating a world that's recognizable to us as ours, but is filled with strangeness and slight changes in the rules of the universe."

Good To Know

In our interview, Niffenegger shared some fun facts about herself:

"My current job is teaching graduate students how to write, print type on letterpresses, and create limited-edition books by hand. I work for Columbia College's Center for Book and Paper Arts in Chicago. I helped to found the Center, and it is the center of my universe nine months of the year. The other three months I try to ignore the phone, and I do my own work."

"I make art. Readers can see some of it at Printworks Gallery in Chicago. They have a web site: printworkschicago.com."

"Almost all of the places mentioned in my book are real places that you can visit. The Newberry Library is open to people who have research projects that fit the collections of the Newberry. Vintage Vinyl is a real record store in Evanston. The Aragon Ballroom, South Haven, Michigan, Bookman's Alley, The Berghoff -- I heartily recommend them all."

"I collect taxidermy, skeletons, books (of course), comics (mostly Raw and post-Raw independent stuff, no superheroes). I only collect small taxidermy, no bison heads, my place isn't that big. I don't own a TV. I spend a lot of time hanging out with my boyfriend, Christopher Schneberger, and attending Avocet concerts (Avocet is the band Chris plays drums with). We travel a lot; my new book is set in London, so there's lots of research to do. I garden, in a rather haphazard way. I also enjoy finding, buying, and wearing vintage clothes. All in all, it's a pleasant life."

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    1. Hometown:
      Chicago, Illinois
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 13, 1963
    2. Place of Birth:
      South Haven, Michigan
    1. Education:
      B.F.A., School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 1985; M.F.A., Northwestern University, 1991

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 29, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    3.5 Stars 'Raven Girl' is a strange short story that feels like

    3.5 Stars

    'Raven Girl' is a strange short story that feels like a fairy tale. The story tells the tale of a Postman who finds a baby raven one day on his route. He proceeds to take her home with him, cares for her, and they eventually fall in love. Soon after they are married (enter weirdness), the raven lays an egg that continues to grow and grow. When it's time for the egg to hatch, a human girl emerges from the shell. (More weirdness.) The girl grows up and although she is human in appearance, she speaks in caws like a raven. She also feels like she has been born into the wrong body and she really is meant to have the body of a raven. The girl, who is known only as Raven Girl, grows up and attends university, where she finds a doctor who agrees to give her surgery to turn her arms into wings. (Even more weirdness.) In true fairy tale form, the story ends with a happily ever after.

    This was a really odd and kind of creepy fairy tale that definitely reaches the edge of one's imagination. Parts of it had me wondering what the heck was going on - like the part where the man and the raven have an egg/baby together. Weird. The story itself was well written and I was fascinated enough to keep reading to see what would happen to the Raven Girl. Luckily there's a happy ending and I honestly didn't know if there would be one. Among the pages of the short story are dark and strange illustrations. They are mostly of the Raven Girl, although they follow along with the story. All of the drawings are dark with little to no color in them and only a couple show happy scenes from the story. This was definitely a book that I wasn't expecting from the description, but I'm glad I got to experience it. It's not for everyone, but those who do find that type of fiction appealing will love it's gothic feel and strange fairy tale telling.

    Disclosure: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

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