Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Reader's Diary #1902- Pénélope Bagieu: Exquisite Corpse

Had I written about Pénélope Bagieu's graphic novel Exquisite Corpse immediately after finishing it, I think I'd be far more glowing with my praise than I'll wind up being now that I've had some time to mull it all over. The ending you see, is perfect. Probably one of my favourite endings to a book I've read in a long time; a humorous twist, just desserts, an actual non-ambiguous ending, what more could a reader want?

Getting to that point however, I found to be slightly less than perfect. The plot involves a young woman in a job she doesn't like, dating a slob she doesn't like. At work and at home, she's surrounded by abusive and sexist men. Then she meets a reclusive author, starts to develop feelings for him, until finding out he's just as bad as the rest in his own way. There's another twist hinted at in the title, but I'll try not to spoil that.

While I loved the feminist message and the calling out of intellectual men on the same bullshit as other men, I did find their "chance" meeting too contrived. She's on a park bench, sees the author (a stranger to her) through his apartment window, then knocks on his door to use his bathroom and talks to him with the door open while on the can. Um, really? I get that some people make questionable decisions and choices, but that seemed over-the-top in both implausibility and plot convenience.

Otherwise though, I quite enjoyed it. The art was also delightful with French-style swirls and line work, expressive comical characters, and beautiful colouring.

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