Writer: Ingrid Chabbert, illustrated by Carole Maurel, translated by Edward Gauvin.
Publishing House: Archaia
Publication Date: May 1st 2019 (first published February 15th 2017)
Rating: 5 stars
‘’Sometimes we drown drinking in the sea. A sea as red as a heart that’s stopped beating. We look up from an underwater crossroads – return to the surface or let go.’’
A young woman is trying to have a baby. Her wife is her rock, her loyal supporter, her hope. But she cannot chase away the nightmares that have been hunting our narrator, the image of a lone boat, the images of drowning. Of suicide. When tragedy strikes, the couple will need each other more than ever but all the love in the world won’t help the young woman recover unless she believes in hope and in herself.
In this extraordinary graphic novel by Ingrid Chabbert, a young woman tries to cope with grief and hope. With the need for a child and the strength to move on. Her wife and her great love for writing are the pillars that she can lean on and find security. The novel is based on the writer’s personal experience and I cannot even begin to fathom the ordeal she must have gone through. I admire her, I am in awe in front of her courage, her bravery, her decision to turn the back on the nightmare that refuses to leave her in peace and her determination not to let go. It is exactly these stories that give us the strength to overcome dark moments of despair. If all else fades, books can save our souls.
I don’t think technicalities have any meaning here but on an artistic level, this graphic novel is perfection. In my opinion. The dialogue is realistic, the illustrations are vivid, poignant and quietly beautiful. The depiction of the changing of the seasons is extraordinary and the ability of the artist to capture the feelings of the mother is awe-inspiring. On a personal note, I was excited to see Chania, one of the most picturesque cities in Greece, beautifully illustrated by Carole Maurel.
This is a graphic novel, a work of Art, that should be read by everyone. A sad but beautiful, haunting hymn to love, inner strength and hope.
Many thanks to Archaia and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.