Blue is the Warmest Color

The book that inspired the film that won this year’s Palme d’Or is an intense love story with tragic undercurrents


Love stories aren’t what spring to most people’s minds when they think of comics and graphic novels, but the medium is surprisingly well suited to them. This beautiful story is a stunning example of what can be done with the genre – it’s a touching, melancholic tale that displays love in all its complex, bitter-sweet glory.

The book is presented in the form of a diary, written by a young woman as she blossoms into adulthood. Her flowering sexuality finds her more interested in women than men, and a chance meeting with a blue-haired art student leads her down a path of obsession. Her journey takes her through the full spectrum of human emotion, from heartache to prejudice.


The tragedy of the piece is that, from the very beginning, we know that she is dead. We’re reading the diaries through the eyes of her lover, who has returned to the dead woman’s family home to grieve her passing, read her final letter and find some closure. The lover’s story unfolds simultaneously, both in the pages of the diaries and beyond, into the lives of the grieving family, who still haven’t come to terms with the true identity of their lost daughter.

This is a beautiful, adult book that celebrates life, death, and the encounters and relationships that occur between them. Heterosexuals needn’t be shy of its themes – it’s a universal human story, deeply touching and beautifully told, that deserves at least as much attention as the award-winning film it inspired.

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