a biography and a collection to offer for Christmas

Quentin Blake’s book

by Jenny Uglow, translated from English by Marie Ollier

Gallimard, 256 pages, €35

Feet in the water and other series/The BQ papers

by Quentin Blake, preface by Catherine Meurisse

Gallimard, 208 pages, 140 illustrations, €26

The Englishman Quentin Blake is 90 years old, and cultivates his child’s soul. The cartoonist, faithful companion of the authors of Anglo-Saxon children’s literature, is the subject at the end of the year of a very beautiful biography and a collection of several of his comic series, nicely prefaced by Catherine Meurisse.

From the publication of his first drawing, when Blake was 16, to his decoration by the Queen of England for all of his work; from the wonderful couple he formed with Roald Dahl to the darker series he produced during the pandemic, “We live in a dirty time”… The artist always nurtures his difference and his audacity. Always, his quivering and lively lines, his watercolors in perpetual motion, “its leaping and rough silhouettes” allow the imagination to do its work.

The marvelous freedom of interpretation that he offers to readers, young and old, is the seal of his talent, deeply generous – “With Quentin Blake, fishing is always miraculous”, writes Catherine Meurisse. And this joyful complexity, this playfulness that we are grateful to him for bringing to our too often tired minds: “I have always been attached to this dimension of drawing: knowing how to render beauty and ugliness at the same time, praise and satire. Don’t settle for cruelty. »


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