This large format (9" x 10") full-length work is a true graphic novel. A follow-up to her excellent Gemma Bovery, which re-imagined Flaubert's Madame Bovary at the same time that it commented on the literary imagination, Tamara Drewe uses Thomas Hardy's Far from the Maddening Crowd as its jumping off point to explore contemporary mores as well as their contemporary representations. Ms. Simmonds hails from the UK -- where she is far more widely known and respected than here in the US -- and this book was originally serialized in The Guardian UK. She is one of the most culturally sophisticated and literary cartoonists in the business, capable of weaving into her narrative a wealth of cultural history and a density of literary allusion that are, for the most part, simply off the radar of her peers. As with Gemma Bovery, Tamara Drewe is a hybrid, combining short blocks of prose exposition with longer stretches of comics story-telling that make the best of both worlds and an equally pleasurable reading experience. Here's a video composed of an audio interview with Ms. Simmonds explaining her working method and a slideshow of her sketches, roughs and finished artwork for this book.