REVIEW: The Young Woman and the Sea (2021)

A Graphic Novel by Catherine Meurisse

Anyone could make a run-of-the-mill travel diary. Hell, I sometimes post stuff like that on my blog and it’s nothing too crazy compared to what some folks can do. It takes a special sort of artist to take their memories of travelling and apply it to a whimsical narrative incorporating local folklore and culture as an artistic model. That is the whole idea behind The Young Woman and the Sea, a new graphic novel from Europe Comics by Catherine Meurisse. This book not only shows off the many places she visited when she travelled to Japan, she does it in such a light-hearted and fun way that you can’t help but smile when reading it. The book is a mix of her typical cartoon style, and lush, very artistic, landscapes and other near paintings that make this book really pop.

“Catherine Meurisse once again draws upon her memories. Her stay in a far-off, strange-yet-familiar land, at the Japanese villa Kujoyama in 2018, provides the artist with another opportunity to pursue her creative quest, this time where the West and Far East meet. In the manner of Lewis Carroll, the young artist lets characters out of legend lead her through pictorial landscapes. Imagination and dialogue are key to penetrating the secrets of this strange territory and discovering why the young explorer finds it so fascinating. This Alice daydreams and wonders, returning every now and then to reality and nature, that dynamic dictator of events and situations. After The Great Outdoors, Catherine Meurisse continues her pursuit of beauty in an unknown land, between mountain and sea, illustrating landscapes that reflect the seasons and the artist’s progress. Truly splendid!”

The humor in this book is great. Anything that makes a reference to a Tanuki having “enormous balls” as in the Studio Ghibli film Pom Poko it immediately going to be something I enjoy, and goes to show the humor in the book is a great mix of self-deprecation and witty asides. I wouldn’t expect anything less from someone that has made their living doing humorous satirical cartoons for their entire career. Speaking of the author’s career…It’s hard to talk about this without addressing the author, Catherine Meurisse being a survivor of the infamous Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack, and honestly I’m amazed that she can be just as witty and light-hearted as one can be with a book like this.

I enjoyed this book, and especially loved the colorful, vibrant artwork inside. It’s a unique look at a person’s travels to an exotic place, and shows that not all travel diaries are cut from the same cloth. I’ve heard the author has more autobiographical books like tis out there, and I will definitely have to track them down. Europe Comics continues its trend of releasing great books of just about every genre out there, for just about everyone.

If you are interested in this book, click HERE

For additional titles by the same publisher, Click HERE

NOTE: I received a free preliminary, and likely unedited copy of this book from Netgalley for the purposes of providing an honest, unbiased review of the material. Thank you to all involved.

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