Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,

January Books 19) The Rabbi's Cat vol 2, by Joann Sfar

A compilation of two albums telling two quite different stories. The first, "Heaven on Earth", is a bit of a meditation on stories and telling them through the mysterious figure of Malka, the Rabbi's cousin whose companion is an aging lion, set against the real background of the rise of an anti-Semitic regime in Algiers in the mid-1930s. In the second, "Africa's Jerusalem", the Rabbi, his cat and friends set off to explore their continent, taking an improbably indirect route from Algiers to Ethiopia which brings them into contact with another icon of bande dessinée who happened to be in the neighbourhood:

I read this in English translation, which was just as well as the second volume also features a lost Russian character (who is able to talk to the cat) and I might not have got the linguistic nuances in the original French.

Sfar says in his introduction to the second album that he was trying to write about racism. I'm not sure that he quite managed to address colonialism or race - there are various scenes of the urbanised rabbi and friends (and cat) dealing with tribes which seemed a bit cliched - but he did at least widen his canvas.
Tags: bookblog 2014, comics, writer: joann sfar

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