Finder: Talisman

Carla Speed McNeil, Author, Rachel Edidin, Editor, Carla Speed McNeil, Illustrator
Carla Speed McNeil. Dark Horse, $19.99 (96p) ISBN 978-1-61655-027-1
Reviewed on: 09/03/2012
Release date: 10/01/2012
Since 1996, the Web comic Finder, by McNeil, winner of the Eisner and L.A. Times book prizes, has illuminated a futuristic world clearly descended from but different from ours. In this largely postliterate society, young Marcie’s life is transformed utterly by the gift and subsequent loss of a book she herself cannot read, Marcie becomes determined to master the art of reading despite the indifference and dismissive hostility most of those around her have toward static, physical books. A chance encounter with the lost book brings momentary disillusionment and inspiration to become a creator herself. Talisman focuses on that least promising of narrative potential, the quietly bookish future writer; but the doleful track record of other writerly protagonists proves misleading as McNeil transcends the usual limitations of the subgenre to create a genuinely engaging figure in young Marcie. Marcie’s betrayal at the hands of a work that cannot live up to her memory of it is skillfully handed; McNeil builds on this nearly universal experience to create an engaging and rewarding work, a demonstration of the skills that have won and will continue to win McNeil accolades, awards, and the admiration of her readers.(Oct.)
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