Continuing on with graphic novels, today I’m suggesting the Aya de Yopougon series (Aya Yop City in English). These graphic novels are colorful and well illustrated. The best thing about them is that they are about people in the Ivory Coast who live in the city and are living their lives. The series contains 6 books and is full of drama and humor. Marguerite Abouet, the author, has based these graphic novels on some personal experiences living in the Abidjan where she’s from and that’s what makes them so authentic.
It has been turned into a movie which you can watch below, although I wasn’t able to find it in English. Even though it’s in French you can get a sense of the liveliness of the characters and story. I recommend Aya to readers who like to read stories set in Africa and enjoy reading graphic novels with light themes.
“Ivory Coast, 1978. Family and friends gather at Aya’s house every evening to watch the country’s first television ad campaign promoting the fortifying effects of Solibra, “the strong man’s beer.” It’s a golden time, and the nation, too–an oasis of affluence and stability in West Africa–seems fueled by something wondrous. Who’s to know that the Ivorian miracle is nearing its end? In the sun-warmed streets of working-class Yopougon, aka Yop City, holidays are around the corner, the open-air bars and discos are starting to fill up, and trouble of a different kind is about to raise eyebrows. At night, an empty table in the market square under the stars is all the privacy young lovers can hope for, and what happens there is soon everybody’s business.” (Aya – Aya #1, back cover)
Aya (Aya #1) – Marguerite Abouet, Clément Oubrerie (artist)
Publisher: Drawn and Quarterly
My rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ / ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥