Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Blank Slate

A few months ago, Comixology had a sale on some French digital comics, and I bought this book, simply because the art was by Pénélope Bagieu. And I have grown to love her work. I finally got around to reading it, and it was a treat. The narrative is about a young woman named Eloise. One day she wakes up on a park bench. She has obviously been crying and has a weird spot on her neck, but she can remember nothing about herself from before that moment. Not her name, address, family, or anything. She does know where she is and how to travel via the subway system, which she does once she puzzles out where she lives from what she could find in her purse.

Once she arrives home, she feels like a stranger looking into another person's life. She knows nothing about this apartment, does not feel associations from any of the books or movies there, and she does not even remember the name of her cat (let alone any computer passwords). And every time she encounters a situation where a revelation is about to happen, she takes these flights of fancy into alternate versions of what could happen. These are pretty jarring, but in a funny way.
Over time, she figures out some details, and enlists the aid of a co-worker to help her try to fit in despite her dilemma. I found the whole things pretty entrancing. The mystery unfolded in a deliberate, intriguing pace that kept me hooked for the whole book. There were no pat conclusions or easy answers. And in the end, the resolution seemed perhaps a little bit too pop-psychological, but it also felt apt for this book. If you are looking for a jaunty book that touches on everyday issues of identity, then I feel like this one might work for you.

This book was written by Boulet and features art and colors by Renaissance woman Pénélope Bagieu. Boulet is a very accomplished comics creator in France with a history of success using social media. Bagieu is fast becoming one of my favorite artists. She was awarded the high honor Chevalier des Arts et Lettres for her contribution to the world of art and literature, and she has drawn many different comics works, the most famous being Joséphine and the graphic novels Exquisite Corpse and California Dreamin'. Her artwork and coloring in this book are outstanding.

I had a difficult time finding reviews of this book, but it averages 5 stars (out of 5) on Comixology. Augie De Blieck Jr. found much to praise about the book, and added that "Boulet and Bagieu nail the ending in an unexpected, yet totally satisfying way."

Blank Slate was published by Delcourt (this page is in French), and they have more info about it here.

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