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Paul at Home by Michel Rabagliati

Paul at Home by Michel Rabagliati

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Graphic novel

An affecting exploration of the ways our roles as parents and children change over a lifetime

Paul at Home is Quebecois superstar Michel Rabagliati’s most personal book yet, a riveting, emotional, and frequently amusing take on the losses and loneliness of being closer to retirement than to university. Paul is in his mid-50s, a successful cartoonist with an achy shoulder living in a house he once shared with his wife and daughter. The backyard is unkempt, full of weeds. A swing set sits idle, slowly rusting beside a half-dead tree Paul planted with his then-five-year-old daughter. The room that belonged to his now-18-year-old daughter is mostly unused, especially once she decides to move overseas.

Left unspoken but lingering in the background is Paul’s divorce after a three decade relationship with his high school sweetheart. Amid all of this emotional turmoil, Paul visits his ailing mother in the final months of her life. Like Paul, she divorced in mid-life after a long marriage. She spent most of her remaining years alone or in unfulfilling relationships, which Paul implicitly fears might happen to him. Online dating only seems to make the world worse.

Rabagliati doesn’t shy away from these intimate issues, approaching them as much with self-deprecating humor as with sorrow or pain. Characterized by both a deep insight and a willingness to poke fun at life’s shortcomings, Paul at Home is a playful and poetic rumination on loss and the sometimes unsettling changes that come with middle age.

Michel Rabagliati was born in 1961 in Montreal. Since 1999, he has become a key figure in Quebec and beyond for his graphic novels starring the titular character Paul against the backdrop of Montreal. His sixth book in the series, Paul à Québec, earned the Prix du Public at the Angouleme International Comics Festival and was also made into a feature film. Translated into six languages, Rabagliati's comics have won two Doug Wright Awards for Best Book and a Harvey Award. In 2017, Rabagliati was made a Compagnon des arts et des lettres du Québec, a distinction awarded in recognition of his contributions to the vitality and influence of Quebec culture.

Helge Dascher is the translator of cartoonists David B., Baru, Guy Delisle, Dupuy & Berberian, Loustal, Michel Rabagliati and Stanislas, among others. Releases in 2007 included Aya, the Angoul'me award-winning debut by Marguerite Abouet and Clément Oubrerie, and White Rapids by Pascal Blanchet. Slated for 2008 are Douglas Wright Award winner Michel Rabagliati's Paul Goes Fishing, as well as Haunted, the latest solo effort by Angoul'me Grand Prix winner Philippe Dupuy, and The Burma Chronicles by Guy Delisle (all published by Drawn & Quarterly).