Fiction  > Contemporary  > Paul

Paul Has A Summer Job

Paul Has A Summer Job back

Michel Rabagliati


Page 45 Review by Mark

Paul walked out of school and into a job he hated. Creative, bright but not academic, his artistic leanings were not nurtured until after the final unfair decision he moved out of the frying pan. His saviour comes in the (appropriately hirsute) form of an old friend running a summer camp for underprivileged kids. One of their counsellors has let them down, the season starts in a few days! Can Paul step in and take his place?

Of course he can. Paul leaves the next day and heads for a crash course in dealing with the great outdoors and being cooped up with adults and children alike.

Approaching his twenties, this can only be a coming of age story. Years later, in a beautifully crafted epilogue, he calls that summer the best three months of his life. It's not just the American movie of the week “We've all learnt a lot from what happened here today” schmaltz (although the blind girl veers dangerously close to that) but a look at the turning point in a life.

The art is in the same historically versed area as Andi Watson, Shag or Seth (well this is published by Drawn & Quarterly) but taking generous cues from mid-sixties textile and houseware design. There's one huge panel of a daunting cliff, rising like some faux-Polynesian Easter Island design. The clouds ruffle above, little squiggles as the climbers stare up at what awaits them.

Paul himself is an easily sympathetic character and an obvious stand-in for the author. Check out the self portrait at the back. It's summer time here and this book is nostalgic without being cloying. If you're the same age as me (105) you'll see a lot of pleasing references in this charming book.
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