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Aya, life in Yop City

Posted on by Holt Haley-Walker

My habit is to fall asleep with a graphic novel on my face, but last night I rejected nourishing sleep in favor of this lively book about a trio of friends living in the Ivory Coast in 1978.  Marguerite Abouete has completed a trio of graphic novels in this series and I am seconds away from abandoning all my responsibilities to find the part 2 and 3 in my local bookstore.  Aya is advertised as being loosely based on Ms. Abouete's life.  In the epilogue she explains that gossip is the main stock in trade in her hometown.  As a result this book is brimming with delicious drama and everybody speaks in idioms to justify themselves, as we all should.  The town in Steal Magnolias and Yop City are very similar in this regard.  If that's not enough the back pages contain a tutorial on how to wear a pagne (brightly colored wax-printed cloth with patterns that communicate different meanings), how to wrap a baby onto your back, and several local recipes.  Enjoy!