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Juliette, or, the Ghosts Return in the Spring

by Camille Jourdy

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414601,954 (3.56)1
"A vibrant tableau of small-town life as seen through the eyes of a woman returning home from Paris. Juliette boards a train from Paris and comes back to her hometown hoping for a low-key visit with family and old friends. What she finds is anything but. Her sister, a caregiver and mother of two, is carrying on an elaborate affair with a man from a costume shop. Her parents, separated, are now estranged. Father is sure he's coming down with Alzheimer's, though it's more likely that he's simply getting old. Mother, on the other hand, revels in the second act of her life as a free woman, an artist with a show at their local gallery to prove it. Slowly, Juliette finds herself entangled with the unlikely Georges, a dyspeptic alcoholic who is stuck in his life. These divergent paths inevitably cross one another against a gloriously painted backdrop of eccentric small-town living. Jourdy's beautiful watercolor pages provide an unfeigned mileu for the subtle dramedy at hand. All too real human emotions, bittersweet and relatable in their rawness come together to form a poetic realism."--Publisher.… (more)
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Showing 3 of 3
A graphic novel about a dysfunctional family that is relatable for it's ordinary nature. When Juliette leaves Paris to go back to her hometown and crash with her dad - she isn't sure how long she plans on staying. She knows she wants to reconnect with her family and spend time with her older sister and eccentric mom. Juliette is dealing with crushing anxiety and depression - her father is lonely, her sister is unhappy in her marriage, and her grandma is getting lost in dementia. Told through beautiful and charming watercolor panels - this graphic novel is a breath of fresh air. It's emotional and filled with relatable characters - while not terribly exciting - it's still a nice quick read. ( )
  ecataldi | Feb 27, 2024 |
This domestic drama is a bit mild but kept me reading along eagerly enough.

Juliette, an anxious and introverted young woman, visits her family in her hometown. Her parents are divorced and a bit acrimonious. Her outgoing sister is having an affair. And she meets a loser slob who she doesn't mind hanging out with. Bickering, slapstick and flirting ensue.

Side note: This is the third book I've read in the last month that has an out-of-nowhere cameo of the Pink Panther, and I'm not sure what the universe is trying to tell me with this weird confluence.

(Best of 2023 Project: I'm reading all the graphic novels that made it onto NPR's Books We Love 2023: Favorite Comics and Graphic Novels list.) ( )
  villemezbrown | Jan 16, 2024 |
Gasp! A graphic novel sitting on the table of new books in the library and one that I might like. What can I say? I grabbed it.

I don't know Camille Jourdy but this is a wonderful book telling of the return of Juliette to her family but with a family in chaos. Her mother and father are divorced but still niggle each other, her sister is having an affair out in the greenhouse at the end of the garden with the man from the costume shop and her Grandma is suffering from dementia. Oh, and Juliette is suffering with anxiety. What could possibly go wrong?

The story starts with the train journey, and if I didn't know before that this was France, I certainly did after this series of pictures. I suppose it could be anywhere but the pylons are definitely french in shape as is the post for the sign in the last image. I have seen those concrete posts all over France. Each image has so much detail in it - the industrial centres, rural towns eventually pulling into her hometown.

However, it is like all those coming home trips. You look forward to it but once you are there it feels like you want to go back to where you came from, in this case Paris.

There are some very funny moments in the book. Her sister's lover making the most of the costumes he has in the shop to wear when he visits her in her greenhouse. He's a bunny, a wolf and a ghost. It's the ghost trip where it all falls apart for her sister because her children complain that they have a ghost under the desk in their bedroom and although they aren't believed, he is eventually caught.

The main feeling throughout the book is melancholy, with things seeming to fall apart including the duckling she finds with a man she met in a bar. He looks after the duckling but in the end it gets squashed so even that doesn't succeed - nor does the relationship with him.

The pictures I really loved were the whole page or double page images. They are bright, often of the outside and where they are not, there is a wall decorated or papered in trees, twigs and birds. They are often referred to as Matisse-like but I think they are very like Hockney's Spring collection. The image of MaryLou's boyfriend dressed in his wolf costume in what looks like a wooded area is excellent. I love the toys strewn at the base of the fence just to remind us that this is not a Little Red Riding Hood story although it could be argued he is playing the role of the big, bad wolf in their marriage. On the following page, Juliette visits her Grandmother and sees her false teeth in a jar beside her bed. She, of course, says "Oh Grandmother, what big teeth you have . . .". This being 'real' life, her Grandmother can't hear her so the joke is dropped.

I loved this book even though nothing is sorted out at the end. ( )
  allthegoodbooks | Aug 25, 2023 |
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Two o'clock, not three. Must've told him a thousand times . . . I've never missed a train in my life.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"A vibrant tableau of small-town life as seen through the eyes of a woman returning home from Paris. Juliette boards a train from Paris and comes back to her hometown hoping for a low-key visit with family and old friends. What she finds is anything but. Her sister, a caregiver and mother of two, is carrying on an elaborate affair with a man from a costume shop. Her parents, separated, are now estranged. Father is sure he's coming down with Alzheimer's, though it's more likely that he's simply getting old. Mother, on the other hand, revels in the second act of her life as a free woman, an artist with a show at their local gallery to prove it. Slowly, Juliette finds herself entangled with the unlikely Georges, a dyspeptic alcoholic who is stuck in his life. These divergent paths inevitably cross one another against a gloriously painted backdrop of eccentric small-town living. Jourdy's beautiful watercolor pages provide an unfeigned mileu for the subtle dramedy at hand. All too real human emotions, bittersweet and relatable in their rawness come together to form a poetic realism."--Publisher.

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Juliette quitte Paris pour passer quelques jours avec sa famille. Elle sera confrontée aux souvenirs de son enfance. Un vaudeville familial sous forme de roman graphique.
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