Charming and (from what I can gather) very Swedish. In saying that, I mean that "Yaa haat-har Lawn-dawn" is a gently wry look at a moment in the artisCharming and (from what I can gather) very Swedish. In saying that, I mean that "Yaa haat-har Lawn-dawn" is a gently wry look at a moment in the artist's life, which happens to be focused upon London. I found it very relatable: at times unsettling, daunting, but also filled with the excitement which does seem to percolate through hostels. Honestly, I may simply be imposing my own rather stark memories of moving abroad and staying in a hostel upon the work, but the pacing and artwork felt evocative.
I also commend the book on its bilingual approach. The narration is given in English, as are all of the English-language conversations she had - but Swedish dialogue is translated in callouts below each strip, and there are pronunciation guides for the various town names. Although the dialogue is simplistic by design, it's nice to be able to switch minds like this, at points in Gustafsson's story where 'Swedishness' sits in starkest contrast to, say, live in Tower Hamlets.
The experience is rounded off for me by Gustafsson's art style, which is very clean, and quite alien in places. Most other characters in the story are depicted as large-mouthed, pupil-less caricatures who remain nevertheless humanoid. One might perhaps draw parallels to the puppets of "Avenue Q". The artist's avatar is an androgynous, long-snouted creature whose somewhat depressed look only contributes to the feeling of distance from this foreign city and the quirks of living out of hostels for a while....more