June Books 8) Grandville Mon Amour, by Bryan Talbot
Again, thanks to the Hugo shortlist I have tried one of the great graphic novel writers for the first time, and while I was not as blown away by this as I was by the first two volumes of Mike Carey's The Unwritten, I am realising that I should look out for more Talbot. Grandville Mon Amour is set in an alternate London and Paris, where all characters (apart from a couple of human muggers) are anthropomorphised animals: Inspector LeBrock, the central figure, has the head of a badger. England has recently regained independence and declared itself a socialist republic after a bloody occupation by France, and LeBrock finds himself investigating an escaped prisoner and a series of murders which take him to a top-level political conspiracy. To be honest the plot was not terribly surprising, and (unlike Spiegelmann's Maus) we never get a good handle on why some people are badgers, others dogs and others again hippopotami, but the loving and colourful detail of the story's bizarre background, combining familiar landmarks with inhuman faces and steampunk technology, is pretty memorable.