Its primary way of making Marie Curie's life feel palpable is through its artwork, which is painted in impressionistic fashion. It inserts color into what could be a drab, factual account, and it also features some broader scenes and landscapes, setting tone as much as conveying plot.
What I liked is how much the art contributes to the pacing, especially with some of the larger moments where double page spreads allow the story to breathe. In particular, I felt the sequence where Pierre met his unfortunate end was powerfully rendered. The artwork also packs an emotional wallop when used to show intimate moments of her life, including the aftermath of a miscarriage, her struggles being a woman in a male-dominated field, and the fallout from her husband's untimely death. In addition, the framing sequence, where Marie and Pierre's daughter Irène recounts these tales as part of a family history also makes everything feel more personal and direct.
|Marie and Pierre talking about her work. In the original Italian version of the book.|
This book's creator Alice Milani is based in Italy. She has also published a graphic biography of Wisława Szymborska, a Polish author who won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1996. She shares her art in this blog.
All of the reviews I have read about this book have been positive. BookDragon wrote, "When Milani isn’t explaining in the text – fluidly translated from the original Italian by Kerstin Schwandt – she relies on atmospheric, pencil-and-watercolor art to augment the narrative of Curie’s brilliant life." Kirkus Reviews summed it up as "An appealing volume for graphic novel and science enthusiasts." Jody Kopple concluded, "With a complex story structure and sophisticated science content, this addition to the canon about Curie is ideal for upper middle and high schoolers."
Originally published in Italy, Marie Curie: A Life of Discovery was published in the US by Graphic Universe, and they offer more info and an excerpt here.