Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Kate DiCamillo's Flora and Ulysses

I didn't intend to skip posting for a week. It just happened. I wish I could say that I had been doing something of paramount importance, but the truth is that last week just slipped away from me. I spend a lot of time thinking about whether or not I should switch careers, since I got a job offer entirely out of every field for which I have training and the career I have spent more than a decade training for has gone nowhere. In the end, I didn't switch. I stayed in my current position, and we'll just have to see what happens because of that.

I did decide to accept a different, unrelated offer. I will now be some part of the organizing body of the Hoosier Folklore Society. I don't have a title, but I'll be putting together a conference (probably for March of 2015, but nothing's set) and maybe working on the journal Midwestern Folklore, depending on how much help is needed there. So there's that.

Flora and Ulysses

I haven't written much about comics, Superman, or superheroes lately. I'd like to do that more often. I guess the place to start is with the recent book Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo. All her books are great, but this one is maybe my favorite of the bunch. Its cover tells us that it's "illuminated," and this case that means it includes both illustrations and comics by artist K.G. Campbell. It's an interesting blend of prose and sequential art. The comics occasionally take over the storytelling entirely. 


Anyway, it's about a squirrel that gets sucked into a stupendously powerful vacuum and gets superpowers as a result--powers including super strength, flight, and the ability to write poetry. DiCamillo has an interesting take on comics here, both by the way she includes them as a storytelling device to work directly with the prose and the way her character Flora incorporates what she's learned from comics into her life and the decisions she makes.

Flora and Ulysses is a book about traumatized people. Since that's often the driving force behind the genesis of superheroes, it's appropriate that she brought in her own superhero and chose to include sequential art as part of the way she tells this story.

So...Flora and Ulysses. To read it is to love it.

1 comment:

  1. For me, chasing what I want always works out better than doing what will pay best. I wish I could say that I'd found a way to be paid incredibly well and also love what the job entails; sadly, that particular lead to gold switch has eluded me so far. Gonna keep trying, though.

    Congrats on the meeting!