Fantasy, general fiction, surrealism
Adults, teens; mild violence, language, sophisticated situations
This is a book of 11 absurdist, satirical short pieces by an
artist who specializes in such material. Stories range from "Adventures
in Malaysia," in which soldiers seemingly come to life as
a man reads to his mother, to "Pariahs of Nature,"
which tells of the beasts that frequent a water hole after dark
and leave a handy construct for migrating gnus the next morning,
to "Art for Art's Steak," about a creative butcher.
City dwellers become jungle or Arctic dwellers, a rich woman
goes shopping for new muscles for her scrawny husband, and African
natives exchange insults with hippos and screw up the ritual
for making the sun set.
Although as a rule I'm not fond of absurdist material and magic
realism, I preferred these stories to those in Outer
States. The ideas were more original, and within themselves
they were more logically consistent. The full-color art is more
grotesque overall than Bilal's; people are wrinkled and fat and
ugly, short and stooped for the most part, with big thick lips
and huge noses. (The only human figure that is genuinely beautiful
is a fantasy construct.) There are some fairly unpleasant moments
depicted in the stories, such as when a man bites a growth off
the shoulder of his lady love.
This would be a good book for adult readers of a literary
bent, fans of Boucq, and collections of European graphic novels.
It's not a light or easy read, so I wouldn't recommended it for
a teens' core collection, but the illustrations might fascinate