cover image The Adoption

The Adoption

Zidrou and Arno Monin, trans. from the French by Jeremy Melloul. Magnetic, $24.95 (144p) ISBN 978-1-942367-83-3

Zidrou (Emma G. Wildford) and Monin tenderly explore a French man’s struggle to connect with his adopted Peruvian granddaughter. Gabriel, a retired butcher, is disgruntled when his son and daughter-in-law adopt Qinaya, a young native Aymaran girl they report was orphaned in an earthquake, introducing her to awkwardly cheering (and sotto voce xenophobic) relatives. (“Qinaya Van Oosterbeek! That’s a hell of a mouthful!”) In time, he warms to the child—until it is discovered that her biological family is alive and searching for her, and that his son and daughter-in-law kidnapped her. This shock disrupts the cozy fable of unlikely love built in the book’s first half, which then becomes a more complicated and questioning examination of family ties, longing, and regret. Gabriel, at loose ends after his son’s sudden arrest and incarceration, travels to Peru to see Qinaya, where he meets another tourist searching for his own daughter who was lost in the earthquake. Their expeditions are captured with gorgeous views and late-night ruminations on life choices. Monin’s lovely, detailed art captures crumbling plazas, elderly wrinkles, and goofy office party favors alike with faithful care. While the premise raises thorny questions about transnational adoption, it satirizes adoption’s “hero narrative” while never quite upending the notion that love can conquer all. But, this family drama takes unexpected directions with unusual candor and charm, and its scope in both art and storytelling will appeal to general readers as well as European comics fans. [em](Feb.) [/em]