Thursday, December 08, 2011

Lucille GN

Ludovic Debeurme

The first book to be printed in English (courtesy of Top Shelf) by celebrated cartoonist Ludovic Debeurnme is the Rene Goscinny Prize and Angouleme Essential Award-winning graphic novel Lucille.  And it's not hard to see why this is such a lauded work.  The story immerses readers in this world where two teenagers, Lucille and Arthur, come together despite their personal struggles, and run away to build a life together.  You can't help but feel it's doomed from the beginning, as these are two very damaged individuals that seem much too fragile for the real world, but they manage to get by as they travel across Europe, trying to free themselves from their ghosts and learn to love.  Opening up this book and glancing through the pages, it looks deceptively simple.  Debeurme uses sparse line work to tell his story with no panels, but manages to weave such a rich story with engaging characters, that you fall under his spell quickly enough, and the fast pace of the book propels you through this fluid story quickly, making the pages just fly by.  Lucille and Arthur are such tragic characters that it's hard not to feel for them as the story shifts between their perspectives.  Lucille is a girl who grew up with poor self-image who becomes anorexic and very sick, while Arthur was witness to an environment where his father was an alcoholic, and is plagued by a form of OCD.  You might think that the "issues" these teenagers deal with is trying to make it an edgy story, but they deal with their issues in realistic ways, and as the story progresses, it plays into how they react to things, but isn't just about these issues.  Lucille and Arthur are individuals beyond their illnesses, and by the end of the book, you really come to care for them and hope that things will turn out okay for them.  Lucille was an absolute pleasure to read, and I hope to see more from Ludovic Debeurme translated in the near future.

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