Four Sisters, Vol. 1: Enid is the first in a new four volume series from IDW’s EuroComics line. Adapted from a novel by Malika Ferdjoukh by Cati Baur, this self-contained 160 page book is a terrific read for kids and adults alike. Now this might not be the kind I usually read or rave about, but I was sucked in by the presentation and kept in my seat by the story and its details. This is a modern classic in kids’ comics.
The story follows four orphaned kids growing together in a large rickety villa following their parents’ death in a car accident (prior to the beginning of this book). The parents do also make frequent appearances, though in the form of ghosts the kids talk to. We follow their daily lives, struggling with the furnace, storm damage, their cats, friends, and an assorted parade of mostly friendly oddballs.
The characterization is layered and precise, and the book is carried by Baur’s ability to convey credible emotions through posture, gesture and expression with her style… which isn’t exactly realistic. The story being grounded in experiential reality (including those parental ghosts) specifically makes the more magical moments soar. What the book specifically evoked in me was Marilynne Robinson’s wonderful Housekeeping and the equally brilliant Bill Forsyth movie based on it. There’s a heavy sense of place, a combination of wonder and realism, and a set of characters and situations both recognizable and evocative.
So while this would be a perfect book for younger readers, it remains complex and nuanced in ways that allows for adults to enjoy and find a somewhat different book under the same covers. Four Sisters is classy modern literature in the guise of a graphic novel.
Euro Comics Roundup