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Ethel & Ernest Paperback – 1 Jan 1900
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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 --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
"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) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Top customer reviews
This beautifully illustrated small book captures the highs and lows of lives so ordinary that they become compulsive reading. It captures vividly the ageing of loved ones, their loss and the resulting unfillable void for those left behind. Ethel and Ernest also struck a chord with my twelve year old grandson who was captivated and moved by this unfolding of mundane but unforgettable lives as opposed to his usual diet of super heroes, time lords or teenage wizards.
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