“Summer ago, the story of us two” is the opening word of the Italian version of “Une belle histoire” (1972), a work written by French authors Pierre Delanoë and Michel Fugain. However, moving a little geographically – always staying in Europe – A summer ago it is also the title of a graphic novel, the term “jewel of the genre” would be an understatement. Yes, because a Belgian Zidrou and spanish Jordi Lafebre produced two full volumes (the colors of Lafebre and Mada Peña, translated by Michele Foschini), edited by Bao publisherthat are hard to put aside – or least forget – after you’ve finished reading. Because both works (volume I, hardcover, 176 color pages, 22 euros; volume II, hardcover, 160 color pages, 23 euros), constitute a fascinating and touching choral narrative of intoxication with the longed-for summer vacation of the Faldérault family. a nucleus as amazing – in the best sense of the word – as imperfect and concrete. Not infallible at all.
A team of men and women, young and very young, for whom not feeling melancholic empathy is a difficult undertaking. So in the age of social media and showing up / showing off at all costs, especially in the summer of the famous “well deserved holidays”, you really can’t help but feel an integral part of the Faldérault, their going out of town, with their road to life without glitter and sequins.
What sound is lucky? We do not know. Of course, it can (also) have the appearance of “ours”: for example, the features of the affectionate and funny Pierre, the Belgian cartoonist who struggles every year to deliver tables on time (the famous, or rather infamous, date) and bring his loved ones on vacation (which, in fact, will turn out to be much larger); or the features of his wife Mado (she works in a shop), loving and patient with him, but also lively and confrontational, while children, as fun as they are, are less indulgent with their dad. Family life full of love, but also difficulties, fulfilled or broken dreams. And in this sense, the exchange between Mado and Pierre is telling, and the first reminds him: “Look at you, 6 days a week, folded in half on the drawing board. Aren’t you tired sometimes? ” And again: “The truth, Pierre, is that we dreamed of living in the sun, and instead we only have a right to shy glades.”
That is why we are in volume 1, referring to the three special years 1973 (Rotta verso sud), 1969 (La caletta) and 1962 (Madamoseille Estérel), in which Zidrou and Lafebre – the latter also wrote and illustrated the delightful graphic novel Nevertheless, always published by Bao – they analyze the holidays of this special family and at the same time so similar to many others (yes, it can also be yours), capable of teaching, as reported in the fourth cover “how fun, tiring and wonderful it is to have a cartoonist as a husband or a dad “.
The reader sees them leaving Belgium in search of the “southern” sea, bright sun and the typical summer season, leaving behind the bad weather typical of their country, traveling aboard the legendary Renault 4 – defined by the trade press as “the world’s first transalpine car” – through a journey that tastes like dirt (for Faldérault there is no hotel, you sleep wherever you are, as long as in nature). Unforgettable adventure. A story that uniquely reveals humanity, psychology and desires.
Summer ago is a bittersweet story about memory and time that inexorably passes. It is all thanks to two authors: Zidrou – pseudonym Benoît Drousie, born in 1962 in Brussels. Initially a teacher, in the early nineties he devoted himself to writing books for children. In 1991, he met cartoonist Godi, with whom he created L’élève Ducobu and began his career as a comic book writer – and Jordi Lafebre (born 1979 in Barcelona, where he studied comics and fine arts. He publishes in several Spanish magazines). His meeting with screenwriter Zidrou is decisive and marks the beginning of several collaborations: Lydie comes out in 2010, four years after La Mondaine, and then in 2015 the series Les Beaux Étés, exactly released in Italy by Bao publishing house under the title A in the summer).
Coming back to the story, the authors of which recall the genesis as follows: “We talked a lot during the creation of the story. Sitting down at the table, we started to discuss what we want to do with this story “- we have already talked about the first volume, while about the second (conclusive) volume, with the colors always excellent, full, concise, made by Lafebre, Peña and Clémence Sapin collects three other episodes . These are The Rest of the Warrior (1980), The Escape (1979), The Brooms (1970), also in this case all strictly not in chronological order, and even in one case with a “Christmas” summer vacation.
There are 6 stories in total that intertwine continuously (for the benefit of the fluency of the narrative), each of which makes irony, delicacy, and (everyday) wisdom its strengths. Offering a look as polite as it is intimate on the characters, all nice and well-characterized. Characters who, in turn, bring to mind memories – and maybe even anecdotes – taking the reader for a walk through the time machine between the past and the present. And at the same time to outline a society that was between the seventies and eighties. It (also) emerges from reading the comments of readers on some industry forums: from “You read quickly, but stay in your heart” to “For its simplicity and spontaneity you can only adore”, from “fond memories of those people”. a vacation made of carefree »to« read, I would love to go on vacation with them “.
Summer ago is a graphic novel which, amid laughter and tears, tells about generations of children, parents and grandparents, examining the memories – embedded in each of us – which are the caress of the soul. “I have to free myself from time and live in the present, because there is no other time than this wonderful moment,” wrote the poet Alda Merini. And that is nothing less than what the Faldérault family does. Who has a lot (too much?) To teach.