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Years of the Elephant

Willy Linthout
Willy Linthout

It had been a normal morning in the Germonprez household. Carl reading the newspaper, Simone tackling some morning chores, and their son, Jack - "Your son has jumped off the roof!" Carl, in an emotional haze, heads off to work only to discover, on the sidewalk outside their home, a chalk outline where there had been a son. No parent should have to bury a child, especially through suicide. Linthout draws an almost tangible pain with his immediate, rudimentary art and strong script which comes from personal experience.


Winner of the Belgian Cultural Prize, this isn't an entirely autobiographical tale, but it is drawn from the real life pain Linthout, a hugely successful European comics creator, felt and the questions he and his wife searched for answers to when their own son took his life' Years of the Elephant is Linthout's way of trying to work out some of those questions, the grief and pain through his own medium of comics.


"The book is not an ordinary comic. Linthout’s art, which was never sophisticated to begin with, is rudimentary at best; he never bothered to ink or even elaborate his pencil sketches, but rather prints them as they are – rough, immediate, painful.

And although the story is not autobiographical (the main character is not a comic creator, but some sort of pencil pusher – pun intended), its tone and feel most certainly are. The despair and bewilderment of a recently bereaved parent, whose life has halted while the world keeps on turning, is sometimes too painful to read. And at the same time, it’s quite funny, hilarious even to read how Karel’s meddled mind mixes with reality, resulting in psychedelic scenes that would not be out of place in a Beatles cartoon
," Wim Lockefeer reviewing the original Dutch versions of the comics on our blog.


Fanfare/Ponent Mon, paperback, 184 pages, published September 2009




Fanfare/Ponent Mon


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