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Graphic Lit

from the September 2009 issue

Paradise . . . Kind of

The Total corporation—jewel in the crown of the French economy—maintains a presence in many countries across the globe, wherever there are fossil fuels to exploit. To do so, it hires locals, but also French employees with expatriate contracts lasting an average of two years. Two years in westernized surroundings, with housing, a company car, and schooling for their children in comfortable conditions and their own language. That’s how there came to be a small Gallic village perched on three verdant hills in the town of Balikpapan, Borneo. It was the Total compound, a group of houses and buildings with a school for expat children in the middle. For three weeks, my job was to teach them the basics of drawing and the wondrous alchemy involved in making a comic. My days were mostly spent in schools. I’d visit classes and give my spiel to kids who were usually thrilled to see me, and who still thought, luckily enough, that drawing was fun.

Click image below to enlarge

From Le Paradis . . . en quelque sorte (90 jours à Bornéo). Published 2008 by Futuropolis. Copyright 2008 by Futuropolis. By arrangement with the publisher. Rights arranged through Nicolas Grivel for the Sylvain Coissard Agency, France. Translation copyright 2009 by Edward Gauvin. All rights reserved.


Troub's was born in 1969, in Pessac. He studied fine arts in Toulouse and d' Angouleme. He lives in the Dordogne and travels widely. A contemplative artist, in love with nature and animals, he has published numerous books about his travels in China, Australia, Madagascar, and elsewhere.

Translated from French by Edward Gauvin

A 2021 Guggenheim fellow, Edward Gauvin has translated in various fields from film to fiction, with a personal focus on contemporary comics (BD) and post-Surrealist literatures of the fantastic. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Harper’s, and World Literature Today, and twice placed in the British Comparative Literature Association’s John Dryden Translation Competition. It has also been shortlisted for several major awards—the Oxford Weidenfeld Translation Prize, the Albertine Prize, the Best Translated Book Award, the National Translation Award—and twice nominated for French-American Foundation Translation Prize. He has received fellowships from the NEA, PEN America, the Fulbright program, and the Centre National du Livre, as well as residencies from Ledig House, the Lannan Foundation, the Banff Centre, and the Belgian government. A multiple grantee of the French Voices program from the French Embassy, he is a frequent contributor to their cultural initiatives. As a translation advocate, he has written widely, spoken at universities and festivals, and taught at the Bread Loaf Translation Conference, where he will be returning (virtually) this summer. The translator of over 400 graphic novels, he is a contributing editor for comics at Words Without Borders.


Photo credit: Quitterie de Fomervault-Bernard © 2016.

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