Title: Lightness (La Légèreté)
Author: Catherine Meurisse
Publisher: Europe Comics
Release Date: June 20th 2018
Genre(s): Graphic novel, Nonfiction
Purchase: The Book Depository
In the aftermath of the murderous attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices on January 7, 2015, cartoonist Catherine Meurisse struggles with the trauma of losing her friends and looks for a way to move forward with her life and her art. She soon enters a dissociative state where she loses her memories, especially those associated with esthetic experiences. This leads her on a quest to seek beauty and lightness in the world around her with the help of guiding lights including Proust, Stendhal, Baudelaire, and two provocative graffiti artists. Throughout the book, Meurisse uses her limber cartooning and dynamic writing to weave a tapestry raw emotion of philosophical reflection all laced with a dark strain of wry humor.
Netgalley provided me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review. Lightness (Original: La Légèreté) is a graphic novel written and drawn by Catherine Meurisse, one of the cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo who survived the terrorist attack in 2015.
The graphic novel chronicles how Meurisse arrived late to work during the massacre on January 7 2015. Subsequently it explores how the author deals with all kinds of losses. The loss of colleagues and friends, the loss of memory, the loss of inspiration and the loss of freedom as she is appointed protection.
Through cartoonish but captivating images that take the reader through theatres and palaces, the author shows her life and journey after the events at Charlie Hebdo and what it truly means to live and appreciate life. Throughout the novel deep musings are alternated with humour (Je Suis Charonne, Je Suis Voltaire), like the simplistic and clean illustrations are alternated with detailed and colorful images to convey thoughts.
Lightness is a truly introspective and insightful account into life after surviving an attack, with just the right touch of humour. Together with the use of language and the artwork, it makes for a memoir worth reading.