Beautiful Darkness Hardcover – Illustrated, 20 Mar 2014
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Praise for Kerascoet
"[Kerascoet's] drawings . . . are beyond fantastic, and words can't do them justice anyhow." --John Martz, "Drawn
""Richly detailed full-color art offers both humor and pathos, creating engaging characters and a strong sense of place." --"Library Journal"
"A twisted tale that draws from the likes of "Alice in Wonderland" and "The Borrowers," only "Beautiful Darkness" presents a much bleaker allegory about brutality. As the tiny people lose hope, their underlying pettiness, greed and jealousy become evident despite their polite words and pretty faces."--"Los Angeles Times Hero Complex
""This unforgettable graphic novel hovers on the edge of your daydreams and nightmares."--"Publishers Weekly" Starred Review
"Eerily enchanting."--"Washington Post
""You've seen countless stories about cute little creatures living secretly in our world, but you've never read one like "Beautiful Darkness." It's a world that's as adorable as it is cruel, where life is beautiful but also cheap, and where death is omnipresent."--"io9"
"Set against the saccharine sweet storybook aesthetic of Kerascoet's rapturous watercolors, Vehlmann's narrative is a sinister saga that you won't be able to put down."--"Nerdist"
"The watercolor artwork here is painfully beautiful, and the book is...best read on three separate sittings -- one day for each season -- to take in rise and wane and grudges of the miniature empires."--"Buzzfeed"
"It's "The Borrowers" meets "Lord of the Flies.""--"Comic Book Resources"
A twisted tale that draws from the likes of "Alice in Wonderland" and "The Borrowers," only "Beautiful Darkness" presents a much bleaker allegory about brutality. As the tiny people lose hope, their underlying pettiness, greed and jealousy become evident despite their polite words and pretty faces. "Los Angeles Times Hero Complex"
This unforgettable graphic novel hovers on the edge of your daydreams and nightmares. "Publishers Weekly Starred Review"
Eerily enchanting. "Washington Post"
You've seen countless stories about cute little creatures living secretly in our world, but you've never read one like "Beautiful Darkness." It's a world that's as adorable as it is cruel, where life is beautiful but also cheap, and where death is omnipresent. "io9"
Set against the saccharine sweet storybook aesthetic of Kerascoet's rapturous watercolors, Vehlmann's narrative is a sinister saga that you won't be able to put down. "Nerdist"
The watercolor artwork here is painfully beautiful, and the book is...best read on three separate sittings -- one day for each season -- to take in rise and wane and grudges of the miniature empires. "Buzzfeed"
It's "The Borrowers" meets "Lord of the Flies." "Comic Book Resources""
About the Author
Fabien Vehlmann is a French comics writer who has been nominated for the Angouleme International Comics Festival Award a number of times. He is best known to North American audiences for his collaboration with the Norwegian cartoonist Jason on "Isle of 100,000 Graves." Kerascoet is a husband-and-wife cartooning team best known for illustrating the book "Miss Don"'"t Touch Me" written by Hubert, as well as a couple of the Lewis Trondheim "Dungeon" books."
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Top Customer Reviews
This is probably one of the darkest graphic novels I've read in a long time, no mean feat for something that at first glance looks like it should belong on your children's bookshelf rather than yours (and I'd urge parents to stash this one away from their kids, unless they want to deal with the nightmares for weeks afterwards).
No spoilers but the ending will have you shouting "YAY!" and "Oh my gawddddd that's vicious" at the same time. Do not miss this, it's fantastic! Full review on daddyafterdark.blogspot.com
This book will really stay in your head for a good long time after reading it. A classic graphic novel as soon as it was published.
Usually I'm not really a fan of painted comics - often it results in a heavy-handed look that's artistically inferior to dynamic pure cartooning. But here it works - mostly because Kerascoet (A French husband/wife team) knows when to go for a beautiful realistic look, and when to use cartoonish characters.
As for the story - it's just brilliant. This is a very dark book - the art looks cute when you thumb through the pages, but make no mistake this is not a book for kids. This is like David Lynch and Hayao Miyazaki collaborating on a dark update of "Lord of the Flies" featuring fairy tale characters. And yes, there are flies here. And.... not a rotting pig head. It's something worse..... And don't expect everything to be explained - the narrative deliberately leaves things out.
The book should appeal to people (like me) who get off on cuteness and pure darkness played up against each other. And fans of David Lynchian graphic novels like Charles Burns' "Black Hole" and "Exed Out" and Chester Brown's "Ed The Happy Clown".
I'm happy to hear that this has reached the New York Times bestseller lists (probably due to Internet-savvy 'gothic' types sharing art samples online) - it deserves to be a future classic.
P.S.: Please don't even consider to give this to kids. It's almost too disturbing for an adult.
I did as I was told and... wow. What a strange little thing he brought home.
I say little, as it follows a group of tiny people as they climb out of [something disturbing which I won't spoil here] and start to make a life for themselves in the wilderness. We follow Princess Aurora as she tries to recreate a civilised society in a place that is far from that.
It started beautifully, almost twee in fact, as Aurora entertains the Prince at her house but this quickly dissolves as something drips from the ceiling and seems to consume them completely. But they survive and find themselves starting life anew. After this, the story got a little confusing sometimes, as it jumps quickly between characters. This took a some getting used to, but I soon found it wasn't always telling a linear story: more like snippets of events.
And what horrible snippets they can be sometimes! There are some very disturbing images in this book, so I definitely wouldn't recommend it for younger readers. That's where the beauty in the book lies: cute, almost cartoonish characters drawn next to shocking scenes of violence and gore.
I've had some debates with my partner over what this is about, but ultimately it screams to me of a Lord of the Flies type story: ultimately, man is evil and, whatever order we try to keep in nature soon turns to chaos. We see this when Princess Aurora throws a party for their new woodland neighbours, and is upset when they have no table manners, snatch food and piss on the table.Read more ›
Aurora is a princess and in love with her prince Hector. They and others reside around the body of a dead girl in the woods. As the body decomposes, as does the forest idyll and the relationships of all the little ones who live with Aurora. There is a decomposing poison in society and human failings decompose happy societies.
The illustrations and the dark story are very much at odds with each other and this creates an unsettling experience for the reader. It is beautiful indeed and dark.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Beautiful, Fascinating and Disturbing in equal measure! Not your grandmother's fairy tale. For fans of Neal Gaiman and Alan Moore.Published 14 months ago by Raymund Cruz Fabre
Great! Loved the illustration but be warned it may look pretty but it's dark to the core. Couple of hilariously gruesome moments, the incident in the bird’s nest still makes me... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Dr Rupert D Holms Miranda Holms
From The Brothers Grimm to Disney, fairy tales have been sanitised to appeal to all ages - family-friendly entertainment! - except, as most people know, they had very dark origins. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Sam Quixote
This book is amazing! Dark and humorous with wonderful illustrations and sequential images. I strongly recommend it to all the graphic novel fans out there.Published 18 months ago by Booker
Read twice in one sitting. Beautiful illustrations a very unnerving story. Every page is gripping.Published 22 months ago by kaz