Author: Audrey Niffenegger, 2010.
Genre: Graphic Novel. Magical Realism.
Other Details: Hardback. 40 pages
While out walking one night a quiet young woman named Alexandra comes across a parked Winnebago. The door opens and the driver introduces himself as Mr. Openshaw and advises her that this is the Night Bookmobile and asks if she'd like to see the collection. Intrigued she enters and finds that this mobile library contains only books that she has read. At dawn Alexandra returns home to her live-in boyfriend and tells him about the strange encounter though he does not believe her. Over time she becomes increasingly obsessed with finding the bookmobile again and takes to wandering the streets at night.
This is a gentle, melancholy tale that was also illustrated by Audrey Niffenegger. The illustrations are more realistic and conventional that her other work but this style works perfectly in this context. It forms part of a larger project that Niffenegger is working on titled 'The Library'.
There is a somewhat disturbing aspect to the story, which rather caught me by surprise. Despite its short length, it provoked a good deal of thought about its central themes. Quite a few of the members of my library reading group have read it and everyone reports how moved they were by it. I've added my voice to theirs on that count.
The story originated as a series of weekly cartoons in UK's The Guardian in 2008. The entire original sequence can be seen on their site: The Night Bookmobile on-line. Note that it is listed in 'most recent' order so you have to go back to first entry on 31 May 2008 and work forward.
Audrey Niffenegger's official site - includes samples of her art