Sunday, February 08, 2015

A new student review of Lies in the Dust by Jakob Crane

Gwendolyn posted a new student review of Lies in the Dust by Jakob Crane. See the full review.

Ann's morbid narration is accompanied by stark and hair-raising drawings that depict gruesome yet simple silhouettes, reminiscent of Edward Gorey's art in The Insect God in the sense that they are both minimally expressive and vaguely unsettling stylesThe cover of this graphic novel uses a beautiful color scheme of black, white, and red. Although it's the novel's only use of color, I feel that it seems to express the story's tone in one illustration and gives its darker sense without seeming heavy or overbearing.


Through flashbacks and ghostly visions, this graphic novel unearths the greedy influence of Ann's parents during the trials, as they took advantage of their daughter in hopes of gaining land belonging to the accused.


As someone who has a deep fascination for the Salem Witch Trials and the history of the Puritan society in general, I was pleasantly surprised to see this graphic novel available to review. I find the Salem Witch Trials to be a horrific yet intriguing time in our history to study. Although Lies in the Dust is hardly a substitute for a historical narrative, it does its job of conveying one particular girl's guilt for her actions in an extremely artistic and fairly enjoyable way, through stunning artwork and lyrical writing.


This read went extremely fast. It has a written afterword to give additional clear cut information and a conclusion to the graphic novel. As I said before, the presentation of Lies in the Dust definitely fits the mood of its subject matter. At times I found myself somewhat bored by the black and white format of the graphics, yet I found them fitting for the overall tone of the book. 


Lies in the Dust provides an informative and thought-provoking view into the mind of Ann Putnam Jr. Although she and the other girls responsible for false accusations in the trials weren't ever subject to lawful punishment, this tale of remorse displays the mental torture Ann felt as an adult regarding her actions as a child. It also describes how the town shunned her and treated her as an outcast. I find it ironic that in a sense she later became the type of person who was most commonly accused of witchcraft in the actual trials. This book is thought-provoking because it helped me to feel an empathy for Ann Putnam Jr., painting a perspective that I hadn't thought of when regarding the Salem Witch Trials before. The sad aspect about this story is how her parents seemed to use her to cause the death of others for their personal gain. In conclusion I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, as well as information or theories regarding the Salem Witch Trials.