The Hunting PartyFrance has an appreciation of the graphic novel that's created an industry as individual, creative and stylised as the French film industry. And just like the films, French graphic novels are criminally under translated in English speaking countries, leaving those of us unable to do our own translating suffering from ignorance. Books like this one will certainly make you wish more French work was translated into English.
This volume tells the tale of a group of Cold War era Eastern Block politicians, meeting as friends to partake in a recreational hunting trip. All the characters have one thing in common - shady dealings with their de facto leader, Vassili Alexandrovich Chevchenko.
The story follows their conversations as they reminisce about their associations with the aging Chevchenko, causing him to look back over his life and balance up the good and bad things he's done in service for his country.
It's Bilal's artwork that is truly stunning though, offering an interpretation of the plot that is, quite literally, soaked in the blood of Chevchenko's guilt. He moves effortlessly between the present and the recollected histories of each character, occasionally blending the two to wonderful, hallucinogenic effect.
The Hunting Party is uncommercial and uniquely European, quite unlike anything you'd expect from mainstream English language publishers - and all the better for it. So we take our hats off to the French for having an appreciation of such art, and the confidence to publish it.
Bilal links page