Three twice-told stories
Retelling, reimagining and revisiting — these three books ask us to take a second look.
Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery is studied in schools across the United States, and is considered one of the best short stories ever written in that country. Now, it’s out in an “authorized” graphic novel adaptation (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) by Miles Hyman, Jackson’s grandson.
The darkness of the original is evoked in the richly coloured and drawn illustrations. The ending is foreshadowed with Hyman’s illustrations as deftly as Jackson does in her story, and offers just as much of a punch in the gut.
Parents and children reading the same book together is one way of creating an atmosphere to talk about issues, history or even just have a chat about stories. Irena’s Children by Tilar J. Mazzeo (Gallery Books) offers a unique way of doing that: it’s published as an adult biography but has also been adapted into a “young reader’s edition” by Mary Cronk Farrell.
Both tell the story of Irena Sendler who saved 2,500 children from being sent to Hitler’s concentration camps. The language and presentation in the youth version are more accessible and the page count is much shorter.
When your author makes it on the Giller Prize shortlist, it’s an opportune time to re-release a previous book. Zoe Whittall may have been nominated for her novel The Best Kind of People (Madeleine Thien’s Do Not Say We Have Nothingwon the prize), but it’s also the tenth publication anniversary of her second book, a collection of prose poetry called The Emily Valentine Poems (Invisible Press). In a listicle-type introduction at the beginning of this edition, Whittall marvels at her own youth and confidence as she rereads. Revisits can be just as eye-opening for readers too.