The Rabbi's Cat

"Comics have always flourished most creatively when new creators push the boundaries of their art. In the '90s, a group of young authors who couldn't find a place in the existing structure created ""The Association."" Dargaud has succeeded in forging ties with some of the most talented members of this intransigent club, and, with their help, is proud to once again open a window into the experimental and avant-garde. Joann Sfar is one of the most gifted of these newcomers. He proves it to us once again with ""The Rabbi's Cat."" The setting: Algiers, in the Jewish quarter, at the start of the century. Our hero: the Rabbi's cat, who watches the world and tells us his story. First off, he explains why the Rabbi does not have a dog: ""A dog will bite you, follow you, bark at you. And for so many ages the Jews have been bitten, run after and barked at, that these days they prefer to keep cats. One day, the cat eats the talkative parrot of Zlabya, the Rabbi's daughter, and finds he is able to speak -- a miracle! Naturally, his first demand is to have his bar-mitsva. But this will require long Talmudic conversations with the Rabbi, and with the Rabbi's Rabbi as well... The Rabbi's Cat has a sly visual appeal which will make you both laugh and cry: sometimes he's the tender tomcat in love with his mistress, sometimes the self-assured rogue who stands up to everyone and never tires of quibbling. It's only in the arms of Zlabya that he calms down. But he is forbidden to speak if he wants to stay with her, so, as he confides to us: Sometimes it's worth shutting your mouth in order to be happy. Still, that won't stop him from following around the students who frequent the Rabbi's school -- especially because one of them wants to marry the pretty ZlabyaS For its thoughtful text as much as for its elaborate art, this series is a small miracle of intelligence, reflectiveness, tenderness and sly fun. And in showing a Jewish community from the inside, S"

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