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Customer Review

on October 15, 2003
Many others have commented on the sheer brilliance of 'From Hell' as a graphic novel; in my opinion, makes it truly great is the two Epilogues. The story itself is as good as everyone here has said, and more. Moore's humanity and sympathy for the Whitechapel killer's victims shines through in his treatment of the killings, whilst being a fascinating insight into the origins of the 20th century. (And if that sounds worthy, it also has hefty amounts of sex, death and violence). The tenth chapter, covering the death of Mary Kelly, is stunning to read despite the horror of what was done to her. Moore is known for his willingness to think himself into different situations and characters; very few authors would have had the courage to imagine themselves as the Ripper, attacking his victim's corpse. Still fewer would have dared to try to understand the killer, to show why he did what he did.
But the two epilogues transform this already-impressive book into something even better. The first is a set of notes on the book, where Moore goes through it almost page by page, telling us what it was like to visit these places, explaining why he chose to have this character do this and inserting his own sardonic comments (describing himself on one occasion as 'making a living out of wrapping miserable killings up in supernatural twaddle'). Reading this is as close as most of us will ever get to understanding what it is like to try to write a piece of literature. The second, where he presents a potted history of 'Ripperology', is a savage and very clever attack on all those, including himself, who have made a living out of devising ever-more fanciful theories about the killings. The ending, in which Moore describes a visit to the 'Ring O'Bells' pub during his research, where he saw a stripper working there and wondered what had changed since the Victorian era, is simply one of the best endings I've ever read.
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