“In fact, the books seemed to belong to many different libraries. I wondered if Mr. Openshaw was running around stealing books from all these places and putting them in his Winnebago.”
One night Alexandra encounters the Night Bookmobile and the librarian Robert Openshaw which would drastically alter her life forever.
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THE NIGHT BOOKMOBILE
by Audrey Niffenegger
by Audrey Niffenegger
Graphic Novel, Dark Fantasy
Books, Reading, Library, Book Mobile, Obsession, Librarians,
Alexandra “Lexie”, A young woman who loves reading books.
Robert Openshaw, The librarian of the Night Bookmobile that Lexie visits.
Richard, Lexie’s boyfriend at the beginning of the story.
While walking around Chicago at night, after a fight with her boyfriend, Alexandra encounters a Winnebago and kindly old Robert Openshaw who runs the Night Bookmobile.
Mr. Openshaw invites her in to peruse the collection. Being an avid reader she can’t resist look despite the possible danger this stranger could pose. Inside the Winnebago are shelves and shelves of books which appear to be from different libraries and some from a personal collection.
As she looks closer, Lexi discovers that they’re all books that she has read throughout the years. In fact it’s everything from cereal boxes to newspapers to her diary are collected in this bookmobile.
By morning, the bookmobile closes and Alexandra has to leave. She tries to return the next evening but the Night Bookmobile doesn’t show up.
Unfortunately, Alexandra finds that she can’t forget . . .
The Night Bookmobile is told through images and text. Most of the text comes in the form of narrative cations between and inside the panels of artwork. Some of the text is speech in typical speech balloons with cursive writing which can slow down the reading slightly.
The artwork has an indie feel to it, drawn and colored with a pastel crayon feel (I don’t know if that was the actual medium or not) the imagery conveys the story and a tone of quiet wistfulness — in the use of color and in the expressions of Alexandra’s and Rogers faces.
The one jarring break from that pattern were the two pages where her boyfriend makes an appearance, wearing a bright red shirt.
The story itself is one that any avid book reader would identify with, at least until the end. And there in lies the creepy factor. A book lover loves books and a book lover loves reading about and rooting for fellow book lovers.
I identified with Alexandra. Not until I thought about the story, after I’d closed the back cover, did I began to understand why it felt so creepy at the end.
Then I read the After Words page and confirmed my suspicions.
In the After Words page of The Night Bookmobile, Audrey writes that this story is the first part of a larger work called The Library.