The Return 2

Too many holidays, too little time to blog.

As part of my travels I headed to Paris, and to a wonderful little bookstore called Shakespeare and Company. They stamp every book they sell, as a sort-of badge of honour I suppose, so I had to pick something up. I hadn’t heard of Kiki de Montparnasse before spotting it on one of the displays, but given its Paris setting it seemed like an apt choice. Written by Jose-Luis Bocquet and illustrated by Catel Muller, it tells the story of Alice Prin, AKA Kiki, who helped inspire a number of important painters and photographers working in Paris in the 1920s and beyond.

Putting an artist’s muse front and centre is a bold conceit, suggesting that nobody deserves to be framed primarily as an inspiration to other people, and that Alice Prin’s life deserves documenting every bit as much as Man Ray’s. The creators back up this argument by delivering a fantastic biography that perfectly captures the irrepressible personality of Kiki, filled with humour and passion and sadness and everything else that serves as a hallmark of a life well lived. Kiki was as much an artist as anyone she modelled for, and this graphic novel is a fitting tribute.

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