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4.4 out of 5 stars
43
4.4 out of 5 stars
Alice in Sunderland: An Entertainment
Format: Hardcover|Change
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on 13 December 2014
Absolutely superb!... and you know, the shame of it is that so few people will read it because they're snobbish about "comics".
This is a tour-de-force journey through the North-East, or more specifically, the Wear Valley with its focus on Sunderland and the amazing people that made/make up its personality. It is also an astounding series of interconnections and coincidences that link George Formby with Alice Liddell and Lewis Carroll, amongst so many others. It is an amazing cornucopia, a fount of knowledge... a wonderland.
The things I learned, the places I saw. It makes me want to pack my bags and drive up there using this book as a guide! History book, guide book, facts and legends... and at the heart of it that most marvellous of all books; Alice in Wonderland.
Read it - you'll never regret it!
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on 19 September 2017
Imaginative and unusual, great artwork.
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on 16 August 2017
An amazing book you will not take it all in during your 1st read, it must have cost a kings ransom to produce. Some of the detail is a bit excessive, but you can skip a few pages and not loose the story line
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on 12 October 2017
perfect
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on 7 June 2007
... is the subtitle of this book, and well-deserved it is too. This is interesting - IanW reviewed this (above), as a Sunderland-based comic fan who had never read 'Alice'. He wondered what other people would make of the book. Well, I've read 'Alice', love the comic/graphic genre but never been anywhere near Sunderland. This book is, quite simply, brilliant. It's a TARDIS of a story; expanding in breadth and depth as you get further in, layers are peeled away revealing more complexity underneath.

Local history - yes, there's lots of that, but all in all it's a complex origami of interlinked myths, legends, facts and almost-truths. And I can say that the local history is riveting, even for someone who knows nothing of the area. I don't know if this is good or not, but I'm now living in a Sunderland of the imagination, and it's Bryan Talbot's fault.

Love this. It's a revelation and a joy!
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on 6 April 2007
In this fascinating book, Bryan Talbot manages to make local history interesting and enjoyable. Using a range of visual genres, from sketches to digitally enhanced photography, with fantastical comic art en route, Talbot incorporates a range of regional iconography allowing readers from wider locations than the eponymous city to engage with the material. Honouring the entertainment promised by its subtitle, he livens up what could easily be dull material with wit and (quasi-) contemporary popular culture references: Sid James is a joy, particularly his harassment of his fellow Empire Theatre ghost.

The interplay between Talbot's three alter-egos is interesting. As a performer he gives a lecture to a plebeian, suspicious of the entertainment value of local history. The middle-man is the pilgrim: the enthusiastic character who travels the land uncovering information and interacting with the buildings and people. We learn about contemporary buildings and art, and their associations with the past. The pilgrim converses with Colin Wilbourn and Chaz Brenchley, responsible for the trail along the north bank of the Wear, who informs us of the project's aspirations and actualisation. Elements such as these allow the reader to engage and appreciate the contemporary landscape.

Hinting at the traditional Sunderland-Newcastle rivalry, a theme discussed in the book, the credits reveal that the Newcastle-based Arts Council England (North East) refused a grant for the Sunderland based work.

The book is of interest to anyone with even the slightest of connections to North East England (as well as to Carroll/Alice fans), and should also take prominence in every secondary school library in the region.
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on 24 July 2007
To be honest, I knew very little about Sunderland before I read this, but despite my apathy towards local history in general, Talbot managed to keep me entranced throughout this long, colourful, varied graphic novel, turning Northern England into a new kind of Wonderland. I love the use of different styles and ideas, such as the theatrical posters, the maps, the blurry, filtered photos that give a dream-like effect, and even the silly parts, like the hilarious moment he illustrates line-by-line a scene from Shakespeare's Henry VIII. The narration is fast-paced, fun to read, and manages to show us all the minute details and connections that a single city can have, and the way in which these events shape the culture and atmosphere of such a place.
Definitely recommended.

Jim
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on 28 December 2009
I loved Bryan's earlier work "The Tale of One Bad Rat" It worked on so many levels. I knew this wasn't going to be simply a retelling of the famous Alice. But nothing prepared me for a travelogue, local history, Neil Gaiman-esque story telling adventure that would inspire me to visit Sunderland. I have learned new vocabulary, realised the inter-connectedness of peoples' individual stories and understood the character of a people....oh and there is a theme about someone called Alice too! Thanks Bryan
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on 25 February 2009
If you are not a child of the comic era you may find this book a little
confusing, I was, I still did - but hey! isn't that what Alice in Wonderland was all about?.
Interesting facts & myths told in a way that both boosts the mackem ego
while lightheartedly putting it down.
Only give it 4 stars because, as with other Sunderland history books there
is no mention of the Thompsons Donkey's.
If you more confirmation of its entertainment value bought it after borrowing it from the library.
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on 9 February 2009
A magical mystery tour unravelling the many influences that surrounded Dodgson's work intertwined with the fascinating local history of the North East. Excitingly put together in comic=novel form it travels from the heros of the Dark Ages to the present day.
A triumph. A book that should be in every school in County Durham.
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