Essex County Vol. 3: The Country Nurse by Jeff Lemire

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jefflemirethecountrynursecoveerIn The Country Nurse, the final installment of Jeff Lemire’s Essex County trilogy, the artist is obsessed with images—the image of the open farmland of Essex County, the image of a crow flying in front of the moon, the image of a boy growing up and learning the truth about who he is. He uses these composite images to complete a larger picture, started in the first two books in the series, of Essex County, a fictionalized version of his hometown.

In a real sense, then, Essex County is the protagonist of the three books. Whereas so often in series based on locations—consider any TV show set in a particular locale, for starters—the plots of the characters’ lives become the focus of the story, here the reverse is true: The tales of these characters are woven into the larger fabric of the story of Essex County, and the stories are important not so much for what happens in them as for how they represent life in the county. The lives of the people in Essex County become emblematic of the place, rather than subsuming it with their own drama.

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