Monday, June 2, 2008

Graphic Novel Monday: Paul Moves Out, by Michel Rabagliati

Paul Moves Out, by Michel Rabagliati. Published 2005 by Drawn & Quarterly. Click on the cover to buy from your local BookSense-affiliated independent bookseller.
Paul Moves Out is the sequel to last week's Graphic Novel Monday pick, Paul Has a Summer Job; here, our character Paul has moved on from summer camp to art school and falls in love with fellow student Lucie; they move into a little run-down apartment in Montreal and adventure ensues.

I like the Paul books for their gentle humor and sweetly-realized observations about life and Paul Moves Out certainly fits as a sequel. Rabagliati's art has that same lightness and expressive simplicity (and I like how the style changes when their menacing, destructive handyman is on the scene) but I have to say I was a little disappointed. The narrative isn't as smooth as in Paul Has a Summer Job; the story jumps around too much. It starts with Paul and Lucie setting up house, then jumps back two weeks to a visit with Paul's great aunt. Then it jumps back again, to Paul and Lucie's initial courtship, then forward again. The ending is quiet and sweet but I felt like the story had lurched around a bit much.

Having said that, I'd still recommend Paul Moves Out to fans of the Paul series, Francophiles and people who like stories about art school or college life. Tucked in the middle is a story about Paul's professor-mentor and an eye-opening trip to New York City, and a gentle family story about Paul's great aunt and an heirloom she leaves him. As a Francophile I loved all the French details of Montreal and I always enjoy Rabagliati's varied, almost cinematic panels. So a mixed bag for me, but overall I enjoyed it.