our fab. reviews -- From the UK to Hong Kong:

It opens with a scene of furtive, hurried sex, as the protagonist prepares for his first day of work at the post office, a prestigious position, apparently. But this astounding tale, by veteran screenwriter and journalist Opotowsky, belies its prosaic beginning. With well-drawn characters, naturalistic storytelling and cultural explorations, it's a stunner. 

-- Miami Herald

The book is a stunning piece of work. The story beautifully combines the wonder and beauty of Song's innocent outlook with the dark and brooding menace of a shadowy criminal underworld. Suffice to say it has depth, lots of drama, bucket-loads of charm, and comedy and tragedy in equal measure. His Dream of the Skyland is a beautiful book that looks set to become a classic.

-- Andy Shaw, Grovel.org

Hong Kong 1925: Song Lu has a new job in the dead letter office. Like a folktale hero, Song tries to solve puzzles and right wrongs. The full-color art creates a rich and mysterious world populated by sinister gangsters, generous prostitutes, tragic acrobats, and the curious inhabitants of the Walled City--people who don't exist because they have no papers. Verdict This intriguing combination of historical fiction and modern folktale explores the magic and corruption of colonial Hong Kong. Roll on, volumes two and three.

-- Library Journal

This complex series' second volume unfolds at a tantalizing pace. Many Kowloon children have been kidnapped over the years, and a mysterious. Song, a postal worker, investigates the kidnappings, while Benjamin, who was rescued from the docks of Calcutta by a Chinese brother and sister, desperately searches for the father who abandoned him. Meanwhile, Yubo's romance with a wealthy girl is a touching counterpoint to the foreboding tensions. Opotowsky and Hoffmeister's work seamlessly develops the plot and characters in words and art that can scarcely be teased from each other.

-- Booklist
My pick is Nocturne by Anne Opotowsky and Angie Hoffmeister, the second in Anne's ambitious Walled City Trilogy after the first volume, His Dream Of Skyland. Published by Australia's Gestalt Comics, it's a massive, mesmerising 456-page collaboration.

-- Paul Gravett

Set in the 1920s and '30s, Nocturne is like the City itself, vibrant and contradictory. In these pages, steep little streets are navigated via rickshaw. Cramped rooms for home and work are jammed together chaotically (the very essence of mixed-use development, surely, is a fortune teller's apartment that's next door to a brothel and across from a fish seller). Reading Nocturne, you can practically feel and smell the air, humid and fuggy with inharmonious odors.

-- Etelka lehoczky. NPR

Book 1  introduced young Hong Kong postal worker Lu Song plus the colorful habitués of a romanticized version of Kowloon’s Walled City, circa 1925. While continuing the narrative of the first volume, Nocturne can stand alone as a tale of corruption, murder, and desire. Gradually, as in a brilliant mosaic coming into focus, we see details of the child trafficking ring. Song and the locals, including a cheeky crime lord, manage to piece together clues and pin guilt on one of the major profiteers. Meanwhile, everyone struggles to survive—and, heartbreakingly, find love—under mercurial British rule. Writer/filmmaker Opotowsky effortlessly weaves over 20 complex characters together, while Düsseldorf illustrator ­Hoffmeister’s limpid gray wash–and–ink drawings render the cityscapes and people with dreamy, affectionate realism, highlighted in misty color. Breathtaking aerial views feature the hijinks of two clever acrobats who work clotheslines and trees like circus high wires to perform and assist the sleuths. VERDICT This beautiful and tragic saga is a feast for the eyes and intellect. Good for academic collections, ethnic/historical studies, and where literary graphic novels are popular.

--Martha Corneg.Library journal

Mixing slices of life from another time with a real "police" intrigue, The Trilogy of the Citadel is distinguished by a remarkable reflection of the Chinese spirit, whether through its colorful characters, remarkably picturesque dialogues well written and graphic work that propels us truly into a place living between two eras and two cultures.

A great success.

--Guillame boutet actuabd/france

His Dream of the Skyland marks the ambitious, often sublime beginning of Anne Opotowsky’s graphic novel series The Walled City Trilogy. Song Lu might be the book’s central character, but there are others following their own personal quests. Though they’re all linked in some way, the story soon takes on the enjoyable sprawl of a fully imagined (and researched) literary world. Aspects of Hong Kong’s culture permeate the book, and a glossary features fascinating information relating to the story and its setting.

--Peter Debanne/foreword

Top Shelf has reprinted the first volume of Anne Opotowsky and Aya Morton's groundbreaking 2011 book his dream of the skyland, an indescribably gorgeous graphic novel set in British-ruled Hong Kong. It's the first volume of a trilogy that didn't get nearly enough attention the first time around. The book has the fine production values we associate with Top Shelf giving the book a luxurious feel that matches the decadence of old Hong Kong.

Cory doctorow/Boing Boing

For Opotowsky, The Walled City Trilogy represents the pinnacle of her career, and it’s a project she won’t define by its accolades or the numbers it generates on a spreadsheet. “I put my heart into what it was that I want to say and I really went for it. To be able to do this has given me an enormous sense of relief that what’s in me was real talent. I don’t even feel the need to get incredible reviews. I know what I’ve done is good. It’s who I thought I could always be.”

Danny Munso/Backstory


"best of' lists 2011/2015

Comics reporter/2012

Grovel. org's best of 2011/2011

Paul gravett"s best of list/ 2015

Brovel. org's best of list 2015/2015

British council/2016

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