Cover image for The return of the honey buzzard / written and illustrated by Aimée de Jongh ; translated from Dutch by Michele Hutchison.
Title:
The return of the honey buzzard / written and illustrated by Aimée de Jongh ; translated from Dutch by Michele Hutchison.
ISBN:
9781910593165
Publication Information:
London : SelfMadeHero, 2016.

©2016
Physical Description:
159 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
General Note:
"Originally published by De Bezige Bij / Oog & Blik, Amsterdam" --verso.
Abstract:
"Simon, a bookseller, has hit hard times. The financial crisis has struck and sales have slumped; his store looks set to close, and he has become increasingly withdrawn. Returning from his storage facility in the woods, he stops at an isolated railroad crossing. There, he witnesses a suicide. The moment hits him like a bomb. Withdrawing deeper into himself, Simon is haunted by memories from his past--memories repressed, from a time he'd prefer to forget" -- provided by publisher.
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Summary

Summary

Simon, a bookseller, has hit hard times. The financial crisis has hit and sales have slumped; his store looks set to close, and he has become increasingly withdrawn. Returning from his storeroom in the woods, he stops at an isolated railroad crossing. There, he witnesses a suicide. The moment hits him like a bomb. Withdrawing deeper into himself, Simon is haunted by memories from his past - memories repressed, from a time he'd prefer to forget. It is only by chance that he meets Regina, a young girl who begins to provide the comfort and support he needs. But who is Regina, and can she help him come to terms with the loss of a childhood friend?
A beautifully drawn and impressively crafted debut from Aimée de Jongh, The Return of the Honey Buzzard is a compelling, cinematic and emotionally perceptive graphic novel about confronting the past and starting again.


Author Notes

Aimée de Jongh is an award-winning animator, illustrator and comics artist. Having published her first comic book at 17 years old, de Jongh has gone on to produce 10 series, including a daily strip for Dutch newspaper Metro Holland . She lives in Rotterdam.


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Like an engrossing but terrifying dream, de Jongh's dark, circular psychological drama (originally published in the Netherlands) gets its hooks in readers immediately. Simon, a bearded, bird-loving protagonist, is already depressed at the story's start because he and his wife will likely have to sell the bookshop that's been in his family for generations. That's before a woman commits suicide in front of him at a train crossing. Traumatized by the event, Simon withdraws from his wife into memories of childhood, which metastasize into another strand of gnawing guilt. He also strikes up a friendship with a book-loving female student whom he tells everything that he keeps from his wife. Though credulity is sometimes stretched by all the catastrophes befalling Simon, the narrative has a page-turning quality frequently absent from psychologically astute graphic novels. In her graphic novel debut, de Jongh draws with a spare but expansive eye that captures the dramatically empty spaces and dark woods that emphasize the subconscious trauma threaded through this elegantly rendered tale. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

Simon is the third-generation owner of an independent bookstore that is closing its doors. As he and his wife argue about their future, Simon retreats to the store's storage facility and into himself more and more. Driving home one night, he sees a woman walk out onto the train tracks in an act of suicide. This moment recalls others in his life, and Simon is haunted by the choices he has made. When he meets Regina, he begins to move toward understanding, and we are left to piece together the meaning of her role. Magical realism done well can powerfully take readers outside of themselves. Not done well, it can feel convoluted. Unfortunately, this work falls in the latter group. The artwork, however, makes this novel worth picking up. The black-and-white palette, masterly pacing, and evocative compositions create a spare, precise, and emotive masterpiece of artistic control. Verdict Debut graphic novelist de Jongh has produced a visual gem that sadly suffers under the weight of its plot.-E.W. Genovese, Andrew Bayne Memorial Lib., Pittsburgh © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.