21 February, 2007

Bandes dessinées

The first three parts of Joann Sfar's Le chat du rabbin series of bandes dessinées, La bar-mitsva, Le Malka des lions, and L'exode. These were brilliant, funny, thoughtful books about an Algerian rabbi between the wars, narrated by his cat. The cat is very cat-like and smart-arsed - when the rabbi realises the cat can speak and agrees to instruct him for his bar-mitzva, the cat objects to Genesis by discussing Carbon-14. It's a lovely way of showiung the life of Sephardic jews, which I didn't really know about; a lot of Maghreb jews emigrated to Israel after it became a state. There's a lovely moment when the rabbi visits Paris and decides to try eating the most un kosher meal in the world: ham, blood pudding, snails, shellfish, swordfish. The drawings are just beautiful; the cat is very catty and the heat and slowness of Algeria comes across gorgeously. [10] [11] [12]

Edit: I've just seen it's available
in English, if anyone is interested. I'm also off to see Joann Sfar in discussion with Quentin Blake on Saturday at the Institut Français, which should be interesting.

1 comment:

philmarsden said...

hi jo

could you mail me, philmarsden@gmail.com?