The Encyclopedia of Early Earth: A Novel

December 14, 2018 - Comment

A beautifully illustrated book of imaginary fables about Earth’s early–and lost–history. Before our history began, another–now forgotten–civilization thrived. The people who roamed Early Earth were much like us: curious, emotional, funny, ambitious, and vulnerable. In this series of illustrated and linked tales, Isabel Greenberg chronicles the explorations of a young man as he paddles from

A beautifully illustrated book of imaginary fables about Earth’s early–and lost–history.

Before our history began, another–now forgotten–civilization thrived. The people who roamed Early Earth were much like us: curious, emotional, funny, ambitious, and vulnerable. In this series of illustrated and linked tales, Isabel Greenberg chronicles the explorations of a young man as he paddles from his home in the North Pole to the South Pole. There, he meets his true love, but their romance is ill-fated. Early Earth’s unusual and finicky polarity means the lovers can never touch.

As intricate and richly imagined as the work of Chris Ware, and leavened with a dry wit that rivals Kate Beaton’s in Hark! A Vagrant, Isabel Greenberg’s debut will be a welcome addition to the thriving graphic novel genre.An Amazon Best Book of the Month, December 2013: If The Encyclopedia of Early Earth is to be believed, the primitive days of our planet were icy landscapes drawn with thick, stark lines and highlighted with the careful use of bold colors. This beautiful comic, Isabel Greenberg’s first, pulls on stories from cultural and religious traditions–Genesis, Nordic legends, Greek myths–as well as the work of other influential cartoonists–Kate Beaton, Seth, Jason–to create something unique and timeless. The stories here are imbued with such wit and heart: Two lovers–one from the North Pole, the other from the South–cannot come within two feet of each other because of their polar magnetization; an old woman defeats a giant with her storytelling; a cartographer is aided by three “genius monkeys from the Island of What.” Greenberg uses our familiarity with archetypes to play with our expectations, bending these layered stories into something strange and delightful. The Encyclopedia of Early Earth is a journey that takes us from one end of the Earth to the other–just perhaps in the direction you’d least expect. –Kevin Nguyen

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  • Little Brown and Company