cover image Paul Goes Fishing

Paul Goes Fishing

Michel Rabagliati, . . Drawn & Quarterly, $19.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-897299-28-9

A native Quebecois artist, Rabagliati has chronicled a thinly veiled version of his artistic and interior life in his previous three books, and the present volume finds his stand-in, Paul, entering into adult responsibilities with his fiancé, Lucie, and thoughts of a child on the way. On a long summer break, Paul remembers his childhood vacations and his own upbringing and early love affair with Lucie. Meanwhile, Lucie has a very difficult time sustaining pregnancies. All of this is told in a matter-of-fact, somewhat flat manner. Rabagliati is an everyman chronicler in that way—telling the facts of a story with no artificial drama or hysterics. Unfortunately, this makes for a somewhat dull read. This slightly boring telling is redeemed by Rabagliati's wonderful skill with a pen. His cartooning is steeped in the clean-line style of Hergé and other Europeans, and he cleverly delineates characters and their environs in this simple, elegant and reductive style. It's a pleasure to look at, even with somewhat limited returns. Paul Goes Fishing is a fine graphic novel—not great, not bad, but firmly in the middle, with a sharp sense of craft and a warm heart guiding it. (Mar.)