The Blue Road: A Fable of Migration

Arsenal Pulp. Oct. 2019. 128p. pap. $18.95. ISBN 9781551527772.
Gr 7 Up–In this rich allegory about migration, a young woman named Lacuna has grown up alone in the Great Swamp of Ink. One day, a will-o-wisp appears and tells her that she was never allowed to live there. But by cleverly outsmarting the creature, Lacuna convinces it to spare her life. The will-o-wisp takes Lacuna to the edge of the forest, and she sets off north, to a kingdom where she hopes to make a life for herself. Along the way, she learns about the concept of borders and about the violent laws used to enforce them. She soon comes to understand the ways people in the kingdom separate from one another, as well. Lacuna’s journey is rife with symbolism, as is the history of the kingdom and its treatment of its people. Featuring sumptuous colors and fluid line work, the blue-tinged artwork is breathtaking in detail, each panel a gorgeous portrait in its own right. Lyrical, at-times mystical writing lends a dreamy tone. The story is light on characterization, like a mixture of a graphic novel and a picture book. The multitude of metaphors might fly over the heads of younger readers, however—though they will be engaged if guided along by an older comics fan.
VERDICT A sumptuous tale that will have thoughtful readers seriously grappling with issues such as migration and borders.

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