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Jeff Lemire's minimalistic but intensely emotional story gives form to the author's inspired vision of what it means to live, work, dream and even die in a Southwestern Ontario rural community. The population of Lemire's fictional landscape is represented from childhood to old age through the characters of Lester, Lou and Anne. Their external world is rendered in stark black-and-white lines. The vividness of their interior lives, however, is what gives the graphic novel its colour and vitality.
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Lemire won the Joe Shuster Award for outstanding Canadian comic book cartoonist in 2008, and the Doug Wright Award for best emerging talent in 2008, for Essex County. The book was a finalist for Canada Reads 2011, when it was defended by Sara Quin.