Esther T4 notebooks by Riad Sattouf
19.07.19
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#BD After the incredible Arab of the Future, Riad Sattouf reinvents Le Petit Nicolas with a direct connection to current events. Through Esther’s daily adventures (her family, friends, school, vision of the world, passions…) it is a real mapping of our society, commented by the young heroine, that is proposed. A true documentary fiction-born in the form of humorous strips, each album represents a year of the young girl and we can see her grow, observe her hopes and disappointments, her vision of the news, her future, significant events, her tics of language, celebrities or ephemeral fashions… It is exciting, surprising & captivating.

Fourth volume, around the 13th birthday of the girl, who has already changed since the first volume around her 10th birthday, when reading this new volume we begin to feel the passage of time and the relevance of this project in the long run. If the designer reaches his goal in five years, this series will be a very valuable document about our time, in addition to being a very funny & lively comic strip.

A successful series from its launch (more than 500,000 copies sold in the first 3 volumes), still pre-published in L’Obs, but also adapted on Canal+ as an animated series since last year, translated into several languages, Les Cahiers d’Esther reaches all audiences and asserts itself as a comic strip a little apart and universal.

This new aspect of Esther’s life opens with early adolescence, first loves, holidays, responsibilities and the transition from childhood to adulthood. We imagine that the rest will be more and more complicated for the cartoonist to collect, because the anonymous heroine behind Esther discovers her own secret life.

Since the Secret Life of the Young, the illustrator has been working to simplify his line without ever losing sight of realism in a style close to caricature, but which never overdoes it. The drawing immediately takes us into its universe, always on the borderline of grotesque and exaggeration. Like the exploration of language & codes that Riad Sattouf appropriates to make his characters speak with great truth and humour, his drawing completes this search for style by proposing his reinterpretation of postures and attitudes that anchors the series in the real world despite the unrealistic approach. In L’Arabe du futur, he developed his own graphic language and Esther’s Cahiers mirror the first, the autofiction in addition to the docu-fiction gathered by a clear and effective line playing on the winks and the paratexte (doascalies, arrows, comments, apart from the reader…)

Riad Sattouf confirms with this series that he is one of the most innovative and creative authors of our time. Essential and unavoidable, it is becoming increasingly difficult not to meet one of his books, especially since his publication rate is quite high.

Thomas Mourier

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Cahiers d’Esther T4 by Riad Sattouf, Editions Allary