The Marvels by Brian Selznick

Why do we read fiction? Why do some stories appeal to us more than others? How does one construct a narrative or a plot? And do the answers to any of these matter at all?
Brian Selznick’s The Marvels tries to answer some of these questions – not directly, though – just as some of his earlier books, Hugo (yes, it was a book before it became a very popular movie), and Wonder Struck.
Like the other two books, The Marvels is a picture book. And it is a fat one. There are hundreds of pages with just pictures – beautiful sketches by Selznick that tell part of the story. There is no text, which means readers have to do all the work. This is more fun than it sounds like. There is also a story told in prose. It is connected to the other story, yet, it is different. Both stories have their share of mysteries. What happens to the Marvels, the family in the picture story? And what happens to Joseph and uncle, and who is his uncle really, in the text story? Sleznick tells us in a style that he has made his own. The two stories come together in a poignant narrative of families and friendship but, more importantly, of stories themselves.