“[Aya] wittily delves into both the political and the pop during an enchanted era when anything seemed possible.” —Vibe Vixen
The original Drawn & Quarterly volume of Aya debuted last year to much critical acclaim, receiving a Quill Award nomination and praise for its accessibility and for the rare portrait of a warm, vibrant Africa it presents. This continuation of the dynamic story by Marguerite Abouet and Clément Oubrerie returns to Africa’s Ivory Coast in the late 1970s, where life in Yop City is as dramatic as ever. Oubrerie’s artwork synchronizes perfectly with Abouet’s funny and lighthearted writing, which together create a spirited atmosphere and scenarios that, however unique to the bygone setting, remain entirely contemporary in their effect.
The original cast of characters is back in full force, with a case of questionable paternity fanning the flames of activity in the community. The new mother Adjoua has her friends to help with the baby, perhaps employing Aya a bit too frequently, while a new romance leaves Bintou with little time for her friends, let alone their responsibilities. The young women aren’t the only residents of Yopougon involved in the excitement, however; Aya’s father is caught in the midst of his own trysts and his employer’s declining Solibra beer sales, and Adjoua’s brother finds his share of the city’s nightlife.
Marguerite Abouet was born in 1971 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, in Western Africa. She grew up during a time of great prosperity in the Ivory Coast. At the age of twelve, she and her old brother went to stay with a great-uncle in Paris, where they further pursued their education. Years later, after becoming a novelist for young adults, Abouet was drawn to telling the story of the world she remembered from her youth. The result was the graphic novel Aya de Yopougon, published in North America as Aya, illustrated by Clemént Oubrerie, that recalls Abouet's Ivory Coast childhood in the 1970s, and tells the humorous, engaging stories of her friends and family as they navigate a happy and prosperous time in that country's history.