Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,
Nicholas
nwhyte

September Books 13) La Galère d'Obélix, by Albert Uderzo

It may well be thirty years since I last read an Asterix book, which means I completely missed this one, published in 1996 and translated into English as Asterix and Obelix All at Sea. the sixth of the eight books written by Uderzo alone after Goscinny's death.

I slightly wish I hadn't. A substantial whack of the humour relies on pretty offensive stereotypes - sub-Saharan Africans depicted as leopard-skin wearing savages. (Cleopatra, noticeably darker-skinned than Caesar, does make an appearance as the only significant female character, but is nothing like the memorable co-protagonist of one of the earlier books.) Sure, the Europeans are targeted too - the Spanish and Portuguese feuding over incomprehensible differences, the Brits being posh etc. But there's too much punching down.

The major theme of the book is an apparent choice between reversion to childhood, or being transformed into stone - both of these happen to the unfortunate Obelix before he is restored to his usual self; the chief baddy becomes a statue and the nice rebel slaves are returned to eternal boyhood on the island of Atlantis. I must say that I might have been better to rely on my youthful memories of Asterix rather than return to him now.
Tags: bookblog 2014, comics, french
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