This graphic novel by Pénélope Bagieu is a beautifully illustrated mystery involving three main characters. It is humorous and brought a segment of Parisian living to life. I would say that the pacing could have done with a bit more work. That said, after I read this book I wanted a film to be made of it, and for the first graphic novel by the author it is impressive. Exquisite corpse is a tale with interesting twists and turns. Zoe is the central character, stuck in a dead-end job, unappreciated by her partner. She crosses paths with a literary legend and grows in confidence as you would imagine a run-of-the-mill 20-something would having stumbled into a lifestyle ordinarily inaccessible.
What I liked most were the carefully drawn street scenes of Paris and the way the author was able to convey the dislocation and claustrophobia that can affect us all when we let our negative thoughts get away with us. I also think that the author managed to explore issues of control, power and choice within a structural framework underpinned by patriarchy. I do wish that Zoe was more feisty and wasn’t so much of a 20-something stereotype, but I realise it may not have worked well for the rest of the story. I think the illustrations move the story along and develop the characters to a large extent, which is the strength of the book. Recommended light reading for a lazy Sunday afternoon.