cover image Letters to Survivors

Letters to Survivors

Gébé, trans. from the French by Edward Gauvin. New York Review Comics, $15.95 trade paper (128p) ISBN 978-1-68137-240-2

Built on a foundation of whimsical gallows humor, this book bursts at the seams with lessons as relevant to the current state of the world as when it was first published in France over 35 years ago. Clothed in a hazmat suit and mounted on a bicycle, a mailman delivers mail to a family living in their underground bomb shelter in the wake of nuclear apocalypse. With all signs of suburban life destroyed, the mailman cheerfully reads a series of anonymous letters through the shelter’s air vent, each one delivering a poignant (often macabre) story of the fallacies of the life they once knew: the social isolation of bipartisan thinking, the importance of work rather than passion, and the harmful desire to please everyone. Contrasting the thought-provoking stories, Gébé’s simple artwork is as playful as a children’s book. Through black-and-white cartoon linework, the characters of the letters and the family they are being read to are brought to life in a manner as satirical and pointed as the lessons they are depicting. This introspective and sardonic book makes it painfully clear how far society has failed to come in the decades since its debut. Agent: Nicolas Grivel, Nicolas Grivel Agency (France). (Feb.)