Friday, February 16, 2007

Must-Read Tale: "Aya" by Marguerite Abouet and Clement Oubrerie

While going through one of my favorite urban magazines, Vibe Vixen, I came across this book review on a Ivory coast novel called, 'Aya.'
"A tale of three young women on the verge of womanhood during the belle epogue that was the 1970s Ivory Coast, this graphic novel wittly delves into both the political and the pop during an enchanted era when anything seemed possible."
{Vibe Vixen, pg. 74 February/March 2007}

Amazon's summary of "Aya":
"Abouet could have just wanted to tell a sweet, simple story of the Ivory Coast of her childhood as a counterpoint to the grim tide of catastrophic news, which is all most Westerners know of Africa. But in Aya, Abouet, along with Parisian artist Oubrerie, does quite a bit more than that, spinning a multifaceted romantic comedy that would satisfy even without any political agenda behind it. Set in 1970, Aya follows the travails of some teenage girls in the peaceful Abidjan working-class neighborhood of Yopougon (which they call "Yop City, like something out of an American movie"), as they strive for love and the right boyfriend. Yop City, as detailed in Oubrerie's fluid and cartoonish black and white drawings, is a mellow place where disco rules the night and practically the worst thing these girls have to worry about is the disapproval of their parents—or in the case of the quiet title character, criticism from those who wish she were more boy-crazed and less focused on a career. It's a quick piece of work, but memorable in mood, capturing the country's brief flicker of postcolonial peaceful prosperity before descending into the modern maelstrom of corruption and violence we know only too well."
About "Aya" author Marguerite Abouet:
The writer Marguerite Abouet was born in Abidjan in 1971 and now lives outside of Paris. The artist Clément Oubrerie was born in Paris in 1966 and
has illustrated more than forty children’s books.

More about Marguerite Abouet:
"Marguerite Abouet was born in Abidjan in 1971. At the age of 12, her parents sent her to live with her mother's brother in Paris in order to pursue her education. Later, she interrupted her studies to work at a variety of jobs. Presently (2006) Marguerite now dedicates her time to writing. Clément Oubrerie, the artist responsible for Aya's illustrations, was born in Paris in 1966. He cut short his study of Art, wandered through the Americas before returning to France where he now concentrates on illustrating youth literature."

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