Author: Ludovic Debeurme
Genre: Top Shelf
Etc: received via NetGalley
The Short of It
Can we escape from family dysfunction?
The Long of It
This is the story of Lucille and Vlad; both near adults and nearly going crazy because of their family’s dysfunction. We meet them separately. Lucille is trapped both physically and emotionally. Since the loss of her father, Lucille’s mother is overprotective and overbearing. Lucille has since isolated herself questioning her self worth. She struggles with her body image and battles anorexia. Possibly only a town away, Vlad fights battles with his father, both physically and mentally. Upon his father’s death, Vlad his mother tells him the secret his father had been hiding leading him to desperately want to escape. Lucille and Vlad eventually meet and they leave Paris going on a journey that will test their personal boundaries and beliefs.
The Thoughts about It
Here’s the true facts all. I don’t know a damn thing about comics. I am ignorant on line structure, shading, composition, and any other word that might be used to describe the artsy aspect of a graphic novel. Instead, the only way I know how to determine if one is “good” is merely through my visceral reaction to it. And by that standard, I have not loved a comic THIS much since Blankets a couple of years ago.
Lucille left me breathless and torn. I began reading it right before bed and couldn’t put it down. And then, after I finished it, I started it all over again.
Let me talk briefly about the illustrations. They were stark and free, slipping in and out of the pages. Some of the drawings were imaginative, often bordering on a surrealistic affect. But most were minimalistic, revealing, and haunting. I can still vividly picture Lucille while she is at her worst fighting against (giving into?) anorexia.
The storytelling – oh color me captivated. As I mentioned in the summary, the story is of both Lucille and Vlad, told alternatively until they eventually come together. Debeurme did a phenomenal job exposing both characters’ psychological issues, visually and yet still sparsely using images and dialogue. They’re vulnerable is exposed and their attempt at finding control in uncontrollable situations is ultimately SO human.
And that’s perhaps why I adore this graphic novel. It’s the same reason why I raved about Blanekts. And definitely the reason why this piece will end up on my BEST OF list for 2011. Lucille is human; this is the ultimate piece of art. It combines the visual with the written and exposes the desperation that can be found in any human experience.
Side Note: I image googled Lucille and stumbled upon other illustrative works by Debeurme and my jaw dropped. There are some pieces that I wish I could frame and hang in my home.