Sunday, August 16, 2015

Reader's Diary #1183- Marguerite Abouet (Writer) and Clément Oubrerie (Artist): Aya of Yop City

I wish I had paid closer to the back cover notes. I would have been given fair warning that Aya of Yop City is a "continuation of the dynamic story" Aya and probably would not have began with the 2nd of a three part series. As it is, I do not believe that Aya of Yop City works as a standalone piece.

To be fair, there are great qualities in this volume. From a sociological point of view, I found it fascinating. Though set in the 70s, it presents a more urban and contemporary view of Africa than I've typically seen and I've never read anything from Côte d'Ivoire before, so I found that all fascinating: all the women sharing the role of raising a child, the pressures and roles of men, and yet there were still universal emotions.

Oubrerie's artwork was colourful and with just the right balance between seriousness and quirkiness to give a sense of Yop City while matching the tone of the story. His thin lines reminded me of somewhat of Gary Larson's (Far Side). One minor quibble I had was with the tiny black pupils and no irises in the eyes. I know it's a personal thing but they reminded me of those old racist "black boy" lawn ornaments.

But despite the art and interesting physical and cultural setting, I never found myself interested in the characters. There's a fair sized cast of characters but there's not sufficient time spent with any to really connect, not even with the titular character. I suspect that had I read the first book I'd have a better sense of who they were, but as it was they felt underdeveloped.

1 comment:

Nicola Mansfield said...

Thanks for reviewing this. I'd never heard of it before. It interests me and my library which has a lousy GN section, actually has the first two books in the series!