Saturday, January 24, 2015

Love, Volume 1: The Tiger by Federico Bertolucci


Title: Love, Volume 1: The Tiger
Author: Federico Bertolucci and Frederic Brremaud
Publisher: Magnetic Press
Rating: WORTHY!


DISCLOSURE: Unlike the majority of reviews in this blog, I've neither bought this book nor borrowed it from the library. This is a "galley" copy ebook, supplied by Net Galley. I'm not receiving (nor will I expect to receive or accept) remuneration for this review. The chance to read a new book is often enough reward aplenty!

I've often said that graphic novels need a story - otherwise they're just picture books, but in saying that, I don't necessarily mean that the story has to be in words. This is a classic example of one which has no words, but tells a very entertaining story in beautifully painted pictures.

Note that it's not a young children's book - hopefully the cover will convey that adequately! It's a day in the life of a tiger, after all; they're not known for their social work. Indeed, the tiger is not only the largest of the living big cats, but also the most dangerous to humans, having killed more of us than any other mammal.

They're no more friendly towards each other. In David Attenborough's remarkable TV documentary series, Life_Story, episode two ("Growing Up") features three adolescent tigers and disturbingly demonstrates how utterly brutal tigers can be. So, in short: beautiful, but deadly!

The novel is reminiscent, in some regards, of The Jungle Book and is evidently set in Asia, perhaps India, home to literally half the world's remaining four thousand or so threatened tigers. There's nowhere else that you can find the mix of creatures depicted here. There are no tigers in Africa - except perhaps for one mating pair which were released there some time ago according to a documentary I saw.

The one problem with this mix of critters though, was the piranha-infested river. There are no piranhas outside of South America (not in the wild anyway, thank goodness!), so I have no idea what the writers (artists?!) thought they were doing there. not that the piranhas actually did anything, save grin wickedly.

There is no over-arching plan here other than to show wildlife at its wildest, and some of the events are highly improbable, but not impossible, so I didn't let that bother me. Volume one focuses on the tiger. Volume 2, I understand, will follow the fox which we see briefly in the tiger's story.

The tiger stalks a tapir, encounters snakes, crocodiles, panthers, and others, and it eventually gets to, er, man-up and eat. I admit that I had to wonder why - if it was so hungry - it didn't eat at an earlier point when it had a perfect opportunity. I didn't think tigers were that picky!

Overall, very entertaining, very well done, and well worth "reading". I look forward to the next volume.


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