Monday, February 11, 2019

The Sopping Thursday - Edward Gorey

Summary: An umbrella is missing. A man is distressed. A thief scampers over rooftops. A child is in danger. A harangued salesclerk weeps. A dog save the day.

The intriguing story of The Sopping Thursday is unlike any other Edward Gorey book, both because of its unique gray-and-black illustrations and because it has a happy ending (if one is to dismiss any worry about the child featured in the last frame). In just thirty images and thirty short lines of text, Gorey manages to create a complex tableau of characters and a plot worthy of film noir. (image and summary from

My Review: What I love about Edward Gorey's books is the strange, almost dream-like way they are told.  I read an article recently that talked about how he told disjointed stories because he left a lot up to the imagination of the reader.  His stories will jump from point A to point 12 within one page, leaving you to try and figure out what happened in between and possibly wondering if we have moved onto a different story completely.  However, they always somehow manage to tell a complete, if not disjointed tale, which is really the charm of Gorey's books.  The jumpy storytelling could be jarring for some, but if you just go with it, you will be amused.

The Sopping Thursday is mostly about rain, umbrellas and one very noble dog named Bruno.  As we go from one cleverly drawn page to the next, we jump in and out of different stories, a man looking for the perfect umbrella, a man who has lost his umbrella, a thief of umbrellas, and Bruno going on a quest to recover an umbrella.

Gorey's art has always had a spot in my heart.  If you ever watched the old Masterpiece Mystery on PBS (and I believe they still use portions nowadays) there is an animated intro that is in Gorey's style, as his art lends well to the mysterious and dark.  His art in Sopping Thursday is wonderful, with the rain on nearly every page, and the solid black umbrellas and the hound with the very Victorian-looking humans.

This story is surprisingly lighter fare compared to his other books which tend to have a more macabre trend (check out The Gashlycrumb Tinies if you want a taste), but it still has that unique Gorey flair, and anyone with an odd sense of humor will definitely enjoy.  

My Rating:  Four Stars

For the sensitive reader: Nothing of note

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