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The Blue NotebookReview - The Blue Notebook
by Andre Juillard
NBM Publishing, 1997
Review by Christian Perring, Ph.D.
Mar 3rd 2001 (Volume 5, Issue 9)

This graphic novel was first published in 1994 in France, where the format is incredibly popular, and it was translated three years later. It features a love triangle of Louise, Victor, and Bobo. The three sections each tell the story from the point of view of one of the protagonists, and the full picture only unfolds as we get each person's perspective. Set in Paris, we see lots of the city, cafe life, some art galleries, Parisians, and Louise's attractive figure.

The best aspects of this novel are the drawing and coloring: they set a tone of psychological tension among these attractive twenty-somethings. We get a sense of the city and the loneliness that can come from romantic intrigue. One might judge that the liberal use of Louise's nudity is gratuitous, but it's very French and it's always tasteful.

The weakness of the novel is the translation. For example, at a chance meeting at a gallery, we get the following exchange:

Victor: Are you here because of the rain or the photography exposition?
Louise: For the photography and this place. There's never anyone.
Victor: I don't like crowds either.
Louise: But the responsible being that I am dreams of crowds at the ticket office.
Victor: May I accompany you on the rest of your tour?
It must be hard to rephrase the French to capture the original feel of the text, but this translation is just clumsy and over-literal. For some, it may spoil the book, but I enjoyed it nevertheless.


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