There are a lot of great books to come out of the David Fickling stable, but for me the best is Corpse Talk. Adam Murphy had the genius idea of drawing himself interviewing historical figures. However, because they’re all dead, the interview involves him interviewing the corpses. Somehow, this is pitched perfectly, and works each and every time. The initial collections were a mixed bundle of famous names, but the latter books have focused more on themes. This particular book concentrates on storytellers. And it’s great.
And it’s not just great because of how Adam and Lisa Murphy handle the subject matter. The interview tends to take place across four densely drawn pages to give you a broad understanding of the character’s life, how they lived it, and why we remember them now. But also included in this book is an additional spread that introduces the reader to one of the storyteller’s most famous tales. Told with typical Corpse Talk humour, it rattles through the story giving you a taster of all the major beats, making the stories much more accessible and hopefully tempting some readers to read more. There’s some John Keats, Mary Shelley, and, perhaps most impressively, Leo Tolstoy’s War & Peace.
So not only does the book manage to make history easier to connect with, but with some works of literature too. Never does it feel dull, dreary, or boring, and that’s a credit to the Murphy’s skill. I should also add that this book is not aimed at me, and yet as an adult, I’ve learned loads, and enjoyed every page.
An excellent book in a series of excellent books. Buy it for someone now.
And if you liked that: There are plenty more Corpse Talk books to choose from.