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Ethel & Ernest Paperback – 3 Sep 1998

4.8 out of 5 stars 124 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 104 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape; First edition (3 Sept. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224046624
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224046626
  • Product Dimensions: 15.1 x 0.9 x 22.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (124 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 81,304 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

Raymond Briggs has used his parents in his work before. They were the archetypes for the bemused elderly couple in his fable of nuclear war, When The Wind Blows, and in lighter vein his father has been the model for Father Christmas. But in this latest work Briggs takes it a step further in writing (and, of course, drawing) a cartoon strip biography of his parents marriage from courtship in the twenties to death in the seventies. This tribute to ordinary lives--no affairs, no illness before the end, no regrets--is inevitably a very personal work, but also serves as a fascinating social history. From when they meet as milkman and parlour maid, through the Depression, second world war, childbirth (Briggs himself gets a particularly good cameo role in the sixties, replete with magnificent sideburns), old age and death, we see a world in rapid flux while Ethel and Earnest's loving relationship remains resolutely stable. The drawings are characteristically tender--the scene when his dead mother lies on a hospital trolley is particularly moving--and the simple text gives more than a taste of these people and the times they lived through. Sentimental as well as engaging? Absolutely. But work like this gives sentimentality a good name. --Nick Wroe

Review

"A best seller in Britain, this winsome little book is one family's twentieth century, told as a comic strip that fast-forwards through the decades. Briggs's artful rendering of his parents' striving captures the English working class, and as the tale progresses, you find yourself slowly sucked into their daily patter, amused by their cooing voices, impressed by their bravery. At the end, you're hardly prepared for the emotional wallop." --"Time "In the details of Briggs's sparkling cartoons, the characters become richly specific and endearing . . . both pathetic and heroic in the face of overwhelmingevents. [They are] what make you read through Ethel & Ernest over again." --Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, "New York Times "Ethel & Ernest works brilliantly and artfully as an archetype. It is the author's willingness to frame his love and anguish so piercingly that makes it such a singular piece of work. We should be grateful that Briggs is so brilliantly equipped to remind us of what we u sed to be, and why." --Nick Hornby, "New York Times Book Review "From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
A beautiful moving story written by the well known author Raymond Briggs, author of the Snowman. The true story begins as Ethel and Ernest meet. Their love and life together unfolds through a series of beautifully illustrated cartoons. The reader is taken on a journey of life's pleasures and pains, through the war years and beyond.
As a nurse and a lecturer in hospice care I was drawn to the end of the book which portrays first Ethel's dying and death followed by the death of Ernest. The images are so powerful that few words are needed. The inevitability and the pain of death and loss are clearly and sensitively portrayed.
Ethel and Ernest should be available in every school, every church, and every library throughout the world. It must be on the reading list of all health care professionals.
Read this book. You will laugh and you will cry but most of all you will understand a little more of life.
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Format: Paperback
This slim volume contains the love story of Ethel and Ernest, two simple folk. Raymond, their son, is the affectionate storyteller, painting in words and pictures the story of his parents' marriage, 'til death they do part. I was in tears at the end; read it and experience times long past.
Celia Crossley
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is such an unusual book. I saw Richard Briggs being interviewed on TV about this book and felt compelled to order it. A delightful, moving, book illustrating the meeting, marriage and life of Richard Briggs parents. a treasure for those of us who are sentimental and still believe in love and marriage. i highly recommend this book for those reasons and the wonderful illustrations.
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By A Customer on 4 Dec. 1998
Format: Paperback
This book is touching, beautifully drawn and also a surprisingly informative summary of the last 50 years. As a Briggs fan, I would rate this as his best yet.
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Format: Paperback
From graphic novel to graphic biography, lives pared down to the essentials as Raymond Briggs draws the essence of the stories his parents told him about their lives, a quarter century after their deaths in 1971.

It made both me and my partner cry. "Forty one years in the same house." Died the same year. This is the story of a century told through a marriage. Raymond Briggs stands at the end of the book in the back garden with his wife looking at the pear tree he grew from a pip - from a pear he had eaten while evacuated to the country.

Part of its strength is that his parents were the twentieth century - his father born in 1900 just late enough to avoid the first world war. He was a milk man. They were early home buyers. Their house was bombed. They argued over politics and war and rationing and Churchill. They bought a fridge and a car and mowed the lawn. Their son passed the eleven plus and went into a very different world with art school, long hair and red wine. Some reviewers think that is trite - but for me it tells me where the man who wrote `Ug' and `When the Wind Blows' came from, and it is where a lot of people have come from.
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Format: Hardcover
This is illustration at its highest. It tells the story of a couple in the manner of the Bayeux Tapestry, through drawings that capture the heart of the action. However, these drawings also show the personalities of the man and woman and draw the reader into their story. The son has created a loving memorial of his parents. I will never forget some of the drawings in this book.
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Format: Paperback
As a child,i experianced Raymonds work in a differient manner to manny a person. This book a sheer masterpiece,exploring depths of illustration many artists have not. The story of his parents was simple,yet in great detail he would describe moments in their lifes that were not major on comparison with the rest of the story. I have loved Raymonds work since i was five.I have written to him ,and in responce,received a letter. Raymonds Work streches the minds of all young poeple alike-Raphael Verrion
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Really excellent drawings and colour, and a very gentle tale of the time that my father and mother lived through. In the 1950s, I was taken to relatives' and friends' homes that were still stuck in the same times as shown in these brilliant stories. My own father left home at 12 (1931) to work as a kitchen boy in a local posh boarding school "for young ladies", and a lot of the scenes are an accurate picture of life in those times. I'll not say any more, but if you have a mind for "visual" memories and "quaint" attitudes, this lovely little book will please no end. Thanks for reading, I hope I have helped you make your mind up. Do not forget to look at the rest of the shy Mr. Briggs' work.
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