cover image Glass Town: The Imaginary World of the Brontës

Glass Town: The Imaginary World of the Brontës

Isabel Greenberg. Abrams ComicArts, $24.99 (224p) ISBN 978-1-4197-3268-3

Greenberg (The One Hundred Nights of Hero) whimsically blends the real lives of the famous Brontë siblings—Charlotte, Emily, Anne, and their brother Branwell—with the fictional world they created as children in the 1840s. Growing up with only books and each other for company, the “four forlorn little figures dressed in black” invent an imaginary kingdom and populate it with characters. For Charlotte, her tours of the imaginary Glass Town become more real than her exterior life, and its envoys begin to visit her in turn. Channeling The Chronicles of Narnia and Heavenly Creatures, Greenberg explores the intoxicating power of fiction, developing the Brontës’ juvenile literary game—about which little is known in reality—into a place that feels real while retaining the illogic of a child’s private fantasies. Greenberg’s deliberately juvenile but catchy art serves the material well, creating a mood reminiscent of Henry Darger and also recalling the caricatures of Kate Beaton. In alternating color schemes, the bold crayon colors of Glass Town contrast with the drab sepias and grey-blues of the Brontës’ England. Wisely focusing on imagination and atmosphere over biographical facts, this lyrical, endlessly inventive book will appeal equally to lovers of history, literature, and metatextual fantasy. Agent: Seth Fishman, The Gernert Company. (Mar.)