Friday, May 10, 2019

Review of 'The Art of Flying' by Antonio Altarriba

A clever, beautiful graphic novel about the Spanish Civil War and its aftermath, told through the eyes of an anarchist fighter who has a miserable middle age as an exile and then a returnee to Fascist Spain, and then a miserable old age in a home in newly 'democratic' Spain.

As that suggests there are not a lot of laughs and no happy ending. Even the part that describes the brief exhileration of the revolutionary period in Catalunya are pretty bleak - the revolution seems to be betrayed and corrupted even in its best moment.  And after the defeat the ex-comrades fall into criminality and backstabbing, first in France and then back in Spain.

I'm also not really sure how much I like graphic novels as a way of telling a story. I don't read them very often, and I think it's because although they can be beautiful, they don't allow me to use my own imagination - it all feels very prescriptive. I'm not sure exactly why that's different from say film, but it is.

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