Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Aya by Marguerite Abouet & Clément Oubrerie

This is the story of teenaged Aya and her cast of friends growing up in Yopougon, a working-class neighbourhood of Abidjan, in the Ivory Coast. Abouet's deft storytelling sensitively introduces readers to life in Abidjan in the late 70s, what art historian Alisia Grace Chase, writing in the preface, calls the Ivory Coast's "golden age".

Abouet crafts a clever story of skirt-chasing boys, late-night make-out spots, happening night clubs and deceiving spouses that is at-odds with almost all representations of Africa in the West. Oubrerie's stylish colour drawings complement the exciting storyline, adding flashes of life at the very moments the story risks becoming sombre. But instead, the narrative takes a refreshing twist, keeping readers guessing as to what will come next. Both the first panel, a delightful introduction to the Coast's television industry, and the final panel, a hilarious plot twist I didn't see coming, are wonderfully executed.

And for all you people who prefer watching TV series on DVD these days, there are half-a-dozen pages of terminology and tips, such as recipes, how to swing your hips and get noticed, and other fun stuff that serve as the 'extras' at the end of the book. Not to be missed.

Check out the Book Slut's interview with Abouet.


chris said...

thanks for the recommendation. this looks great.

Anonymous said...

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