The renowned Canadian cartoonist returns with the latest installment of his semi-autobiographical series. This volume finds protagonist Paul in late middle age, confronting existential dread in the face of divorce, his daughter's departure for England, and his mother's impending death.
If the latest volume in the long-running, semi-autobiographical Paul series by the Quebecer cartoonist Michel Rabagliati is by far the saddest of these wonderful books, it’s also much the better for it. No one writes, or draws, the nerdish white male quite as Rabagliati does, but in this volume, as his titular hero finds himself adrift in middle age, there’s a special richness: a melancholy that has its perfect expression in his monochrome pages. A story of loneliness and loss, it could hardly have arrived at a better moment. Who knew that I would find Paul’s daily dread so soothing? ... His mother, though… At the heart of this book is a fine portrait of a stoical, reserved and sometimes rather difficult woman who lives alone in a retirement flat ... blackly funny, whether our narrator is obsessing over the typeface of street signs, or giving yet another talk to bored students at a school ... there are moments of solace, too.
... an exacting chronicle of the everyday, a work of big-hearted humor, and a memoir that’s as much about the potential of the future as it is about the bittersweetness of the past ... broad and accommodating in its minutiae, big enough to contain a diverse readership. Though it may help to be a cantankerous old white male cartoonist before picking up this book, you don’t necessarily have to be to enjoy it ... I found myself not only relating to Paul but reflecting on shibboleths between generations ... In its careful attention to detail and thorough examination of the challenges and triumphs of being human, it’s a book that offers an opportunity for growth, not just for Paul but for the reader sympathetic to his situation. As a chronicle of a life, Paul at Home is a success.
With bold lines, cartoonish faces, and springy movements, Rabagliati's artwork is almost at odds with the comic's melancholy. But perhaps it is precisely this contrast that makes Paul at Home such a delight to read. Amidst Paul's loneliness and disillusionment, we also get glimpses of his wit and humor ... Scenes that should cause distress...instead make us laugh at the absurdity ... brimming with moments of heartbreak, but through its humor and honesty, it also speaks to our sense of hope.