The Scarlet Letter
original story by Nathaniel Hawthorne, story adaptation by Crystal S. Chan and art by SunNeko Lee
Publisher: Udon Entertainment
Summary: Experience CLASSIC tales in MANGA format!
Nathaniel Hawthorne's powerful tale of forbidden love, shame and revenge comes to life in Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter. When Hester Prynne bears an illegitimate child she is introduced to the ugliness, complexity, and ultimately the strength of the human spirit. Though set in a Puritan community during the Colonial American period, the moral dilemmas of personal responsibility and consuming emotions of guilt, anger, loyalty and revenge are timeless.
This manga retelling of Hawthorn’s classic American novel is faithfully adapted by Crystal S. Chan and features stunning artwork by SunNeko Lee which will give old and new readers alike a fresh insight into this tragic saga of Puritan America.
Available in both hardcover and paperback formats.
"In small, Puritan Boston, a woman holding her baby girl walks onto a scaffold. She is Hester Prynne. Her child is Pearl, but no one knows the father. When asked by the minister Arthur Dimmesdale to reveal the fellow sinner, Hester refuses. As time passes, Hester moves to a thatched cottage outside the town. She is forced to deal with terrible prejudice, even though everyone buys her embroideries. Her husband, who she thought had died at sea, returned on the day of her trial and now seeks the father of Pearl. He, Arthur, Hester, and Pearl all struggle to lesser or greater degrees as moral conundrums are presented to them.There is a great sense of drama conveyed by the illustrations. They are masterfully crafted to portray the emotions invoked by the situations Hester and other characters are in." - San Francisco Book Review
I will start this review by saying that I received an online copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange of a honest review.
"The Scarlet Letter" was my second read book from Manga Classics. I started by reading "Les Miserábles" and I got interested in Udon Entertainment works. Contrary to what happened with my first read I didn't know the story of the classic by Nathaniel Hawthorne, only the premises. And I think this is a good introduction to classics that somehow can be a little scary, either because of their plots or because we are trying to figure if we have any interest on reading the original one.
With that being said, I also have to point out that this books have a particularity that I think is an amazing add: in the end you can find a short description of the adaptation process to manga, with some detailed information about each character and even better, some sketches of the first tries to get the characters right.
Algo, since we are talking about manga, maybe the isn't a biggest point to people who are used to read it, even if in a digital access the book is read back to forward in order to give the same experience as the paper books.
About the story itself, I think the two artists were able to get the main setups of the original book and work through it. Of course we can't consider the possibility of having all the details and singularities of the books transformed into graphic storytelling, but even so the story is well told and has the among of necessary details to create a structured and continued plot.
Speaking about the content, I'm afraid I didn't enjoyed this story quite much. I was aware of the tangles between characters and about the synopsis and it was appealing to me but the constrictions and absolute references to religion were a little bit to much for me. I would enjoy to see more explored the social models in other aspects in a way it would complement the book's mainframe. And that's also because the characters didn't exist much besides that story alignment and I wanted some profundity and a better connection of elements.
But that's not Crystal S. Chan and SunNeko Lee's fault since they followed quite well the original plot to create this story.
I could not finish this review without talking about something extremely important in mangas: the art itself! And this one is well done, with singular features and amazing expressive characters. If you are wanting to dive in some classic novels and don't know where to start, maybe this collection is a good way to introduce you to the concept and in the future, look for the original romances!
About the author:
Addicted to the library Claudia loves to read on the move and we can usualy find her sitting in a train or bus reading while commuting to and from work. But don't be fooled she is also keeping an eye on the landscape and all around her. She is an avid defender of sustainability and volunteering and it's as easy to find her starting a new project as it is to find her chatting with her friends. She is a dreamer and loves good stories so she keeps looking for them in her personal life.