Thoughts: Three Shadows by Cyril Pedrosa

Three Shadows

Cyril Pedrosa

Translated from the French by Edward Gauvin

272 pages

Pub year: 2008

Publisher: First Second

Source: Personal Library

Back then, life was simple and sweet. The taste of cherries, the cool shade, the fresh smell of the river. . . That wads how we lived, in a vale among the hills – sheltered from the storms, ignorant of the world, as though on an island, peaceful and untroubled.

And then . . . everything changed.

Lately I’ve been reading a lot of books that I would describe as being gentle. Stories that quietly unfold as I read them but yet still leaves me stunned after I have read the last page. Cyril Pedrosa’s Three Shadows is that kind of read.

Louis leads a simple life with his wife Lise and their young son, Joachim. It’s a life where the three can easily forget that the rest of the world even exists. But one night Joachim notices three hooded horsemen that loom on a nearby hill, shadows that watch the family. It’s during a fateful night when the horsemen call out to Joachim that Lise and Louis start to realize the danger their son may be in.  Louis decides to do everything in his power to keep his son away from the horsemen so he flees in the middle of the night with Joachim and some rations, vowing not to come back until they have outran the shadows. Lise is left behind to grieve for the lost time she has with her son in hopes that her husband will one day make peace with what’s ahead.

My description may sound odd but I’m letting you know just the basics. I think the less you know about this book in terms of plot- the better your reaction to it will be. When I bought Three Shadows earlier this year, I thought its vague description was interesting enough to buy. I was so amazed about this book that I had to read this book twice before I could write a review on it. The story of this small family against these three mysterious beings and the ensuing race to get Joachim as far away as possible from them was interesting enough that I had to read to the end. The art, done in black and white, helps to keep the pictures as part of the story and not a distraction.

click on the picture to enlarge

There are scenes that are so beautiful that I held my breath as I read. These were scenes that revealed the motives, emotions, and acts of bravery of everyday people and villains. The front flap of this book asked “What price would you pay to save your child?” Louis is a great example of a parent who’s willing to sacrifice everything for their child. In the end,  Three Shadows is the fable that it sets out to be.

You can see a much longer excerpt from the book here.

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9 thoughts on “Thoughts: Three Shadows by Cyril Pedrosa

  1. I love books that are quiet and gentle, and since I have read very few graphic novels, this sounds like something that I would be really interested in. The fact that you are so loathe to reveal plot points that might ruin the book for other readers also intrigues me. I am off to add this one to my list. Thanks for the fantastic review!

  2. I love the quiet and gentle books! I think a lot of mid-century writing fits that bill. I really like the graphics in this book- they look so adorable :-)

  3. I don’t read many graphic novels but this one sounds like it would be a terrible shame to miss. I love that it contains scenes of gentle beauty and other scenes that are troubling and frightening.
    It saddens me that this lovely family’s life has to change so drastically but there’s also such majestoc beauty in the courage Louis portrays in order to protect his son.

    Thank you for posting a review of this book.

  4. The illustrations are beautiful. I just starting reading graphic novels this past year and will definitely add this one to my list.

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