Thursday 25 September 2008

New This Week.....We Can Still Be Friends

We Can Still Be Friends, written and drawn by Mawil and is from Blank Slate books, is an autobiographical work about past (failed) loves. For some reason autobiographical works usually send alarm bells ringing for me warning of floating stories that have little structure to them and sometimes, I suspect, have more significance to the author than the reader. However Mawil has an endearingly naive art style that makes everything look like fun and never, ever mawkish.

The structure very quickly defuses the threat of building sentiment. Starting with a narrators voice recounting to the reader his first love as a child, at the end of the chapter we discover that he is actually telling the story to his friends in a pub. At the end of each memory of lost love we return to the increasingly despairing lead character whilst his friends try to cheer him up. They see what we see, that life's highs and lows are just part of the jolly adventure.

This isn't a book about details, such as would be found in Jeffrey Brown's work (who, along with Joe Matt have supplied flattering quotes for the cover), these stories take place against a backdrop of adventure: outings with a Church group, long camping trips with friends, shared student accommodation. Everything about the book is geared towards communicating a celebration of life. Yes the Mawil character in the book is a hopeless fool for love and his own worst enemy but Mawil the storyteller is never looking for your sympathy and therefore he receives it in spades.

It's a fairly brief book but it's warm, charming and highly recommended. SLS

1 comment:

  1. Hi Dave's

    thanks so much for the nice review of Mawil's book. I think you hit the nail squarely on the head - "a celebration of life" - sure it's bittersweet but also shows that it's better to have loved and lost etc....

    cheers for that - very nice
    Kenny Penman
    Publisher Blank Slate Books


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