Slow Storm

Slow Storm

by Danica Novgorodoff
     
 

A firefighter in rural Kentucky, Ursa searches for her place in life, struggling to meet her own expectations. When a tornado hits her town, the ensuing chaos brings her world into sharp focus, somehow making everything clearer, and Ursa finds that she just can’t stomach the way her life is going. It is then that she meets Rafi, an illegal immigrant whose

Overview

A firefighter in rural Kentucky, Ursa searches for her place in life, struggling to meet her own expectations. When a tornado hits her town, the ensuing chaos brings her world into sharp focus, somehow making everything clearer, and Ursa finds that she just can’t stomach the way her life is going. It is then that she meets Rafi, an illegal immigrant whose life isn’t going the way he’d pictured it either. Their encounter is the catalyst for Ursa and Rafi, who take different roads to the realization that wanting your life to change isn’t enough to make it happen.

Slow Storm stands apart as a graphic novel with its literary heart and charged, atmospheric watercolor and ink artwork. The storm builds around the characters and inside them, and moments of violence and tenderness suddenly crack like lightning. With Slow Storm, Danica Novgorodoff takes her place as a talent to be reckoned with in the literary world.

Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Steven Kral
Ursa Crain is a firefighter in rural Kentucky. Rafi is an illegal Mexican immigrant working on a horse farm. Both are dissatisfied with the circumstances of their lives but see no real way to break free. When the barn Rafi is living in burns down from a lightning strike, they are thrown together briefly. Each learns to see their lives from a different perspective, and when they finally part at the end, each finds the courage to finally make the changes in their lives that will bring happiness. Novgorodoff writes a very literate and rich graphic novel. The illustrations are masterfully done and often wordlessly tell the story as well as convey the mood. They also allow her to sprinkle in heavy doses of symbolism that let the reader see inside the characters. As the novel essentially comprises a pair of character studies, the plot mainly serves to get Ursa and Rafi together and allow the reader to see the issues underlying their actions. This perceived lack of action might make the book a difficult sell to those patrons who view the term "graphic novel" as shorthand for superhero fantasy in a better cover. For those willing to expand their definition of the genre, the novel will be a wonderful experience. Reviewer: Steven Kral
School Library Journal

Gr 10 Up

Ursa and her brother, both Kentucky firefighters, respond to reports of a burning horse barn in the aftermath of a fierce tornado. Frustrated by his constant jibes, Ursa traps him in the burning building, but, when he escapes, he unexpectedly blames it on Rafi, the undocumented Mexican immigrant who was living and working in the loft. Using somber watercolors, the artist works hard to create a sense of place, periodically breaking up the already slow-paced story with full-page evocations of the vast, tumultuous skies and the hills of Kentucky and Mexico. The line work is rough and has a certain degree of shapelessness, which works well with the nature scenes and the watercolors themselves, but which makes the characters occasionally seem clumsy. Where it works exceptionally well, however, is in the depiction of Ursa's rage-induced visions and the magical realism of Rafi's journey to the U.S., where policemen ride pigs and he has to climb over St. Peter's Gate to cross the border. Also compelling are the author's tone-clear rendition of Rafi's broken English and the strangeness of the protagonists' decisions. The atmospheric tone of the medium and the setting, combined with the weirdness of the characters' actions and their hallucinatory impressions, creates a curious, open-ended, and emotional reading experience.-Benjamin Russell, Belmont High School, NH

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781596432505
Publisher:
First Second
Publication date:
09/02/2008
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
176
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
16 - 18 Years

Meet the Author

Originally from Louisville, Kentucky, Danica Novgorodoff is a writer, painter, photographer, and comics artist who now lives in New York City where she works as a graphic designer for First Second Books. She has also worked as a horse trainer in Virginia, an assistant to photographer Sally Mann, and an artist review writer for galleries in Chelsea and SoHo. In 2006 she won the Isotope Award for her mini-comic, A Late Freeze, which was later nominated for an Eisner award.

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