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Paul Goes Fishing

by Michel Rabagliati

Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly

Format: Softcover, 7x10, partial color, $19.95

ISBN: 978-1-897299-28-9

Reviewed by: Library Journal

Now in his midforties with a teenage daughter, Rabagliati in his semiautobiographical series follows alter ego "Paul" through his meandering, bittersweet life. Paul in the Country (2000) introduces Paul in his midthirties with a young daughter, disenchanted and reminiscing about his own childhood. Paul Has a Summer Job (2003) finds him toward the end of that childhood, quitting high school and working as counselor at a camp for underprivileged children. In Paul Moves Out (2005), he ventures further into adulthood by moving into his first apartment—with copacetic girlfriend Lucie. Now in Paul Goes Fishing, Paul and the pregnant Lucie vacation with family at a fishing camp. Camp life becomes a frame not only for musings on fishing and how modernity has twisted nature out of shape but also for memories of Paul's first fishing trip and several adolescent experiences significant for their blend of hope and anguish. Paul never does learn to fish, and the vacation is cut short when Lucie miscarries. Eventually, however, the young couple has a "happy ending," which then illuminates in a warmly satisfying way the otherwise puzzling frontispiece sequence. Rabagliati's sweetly introspective narrative, combined with simple, detailed drawings, makes Paul an Everyman and the most mundane events worthy of interest and respect. Sexual themes make this for high school and up. —Martha Cornog