Ethel & Ernest Paperback – 3 Sep 1998
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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
"Briggs has always had the ability to move his readers, but never more powerfully than this." (Stephen Pritchard Guardian)
"As our memory of pre-Niketown Britain fades, we should be grateful that Raymond Briggs is so brilliantly equipped to remind us of what we used to be, and why." (Nick Hornby New York Times)
"Ethel & Ernest imparts, as the best novels do, the sense of lived lives. It’s not too much to say you come to love these people... Briggs’ book earns our tears. Ethel & Ernest is a just about perfect miniature: small in scale, not in spirit." (Charles Taylor Salon)
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is such a beautiful, touching story of a family. Starting from the 1930s to the 1970s.
The illustrations are stunning and tell the story beautifully. Read more
A beautiful story that everyone will relate to. Made me cry!Published 2 months ago by Laura Millward
Love this book so much - and bought one for a friend for Christmas, who equally loved it. Easy read and a lovely social history aspect. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
amazingly beautiful book. Will stay with you long. Incredibly images and enduring characters. can't recommend too highly.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
A step back into time. Beautifully illustrated and the captions were fabulous. I wish it was around when we were doing history at school. Thank you Raymond Briggs.Published 4 months ago by Nafees Ahmad
Raymond Briggs has enthralled me for decades. A master artist and storyteller.Published 9 months ago by Gary Steven lythe
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