Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Rabbi's Cat 2 by Joann Sfar

Graphic novel, 144 pages
Hardcover 2008

Translated from the French

Only the second graphic novel I've ever read, they are not my cup of tea it seems. The first was The Rabbi's Cat, which is charming, funny, and beautifully illustrated by France's top graphics artist, and a very good story. This one is the second book with the same characters. About a rabbi and his daughter in Algeria, pre World War II; the rabbi's cat can speak, it even argues Torah, and points out incongruities in people's behaviour. There are two stories here really, one about an old man and his mangy pet lion and a delightful con they have going, which is fun to read.

The second part is about racism but I didn't like it when the arguing got loud and even somewhat physical (perhaps an attempt on the author's part to prove his point?) despite everyone being of the same religion. And the author gratuitously threw in the "f" word-once, it spoiled the tone for me. I'm glad that I wasn't reading it with a child on my lap. This is a book for adults. There's no faulting the artistry or original story but I am clearly the wrong person to enjoy or to judge graphic novels.
Reviewed by Sandra at Fresh Ink Books


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