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Letter to Survivors
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Letter to Survivors

3.29  ·  Rating details ·  139 ratings  ·  31 reviews
In the blasted ruins of what was once a picture-perfect suburb, nothing stirs—except the postman. Clad in a hazmat suit and mounted on a bicycle, he is still delivering the mail, nuclear apocalypse or no nuclear apocalypse. One family has taken refuge in an underground fallout shelter, and to them he brings—or, rather, shouts through the air vent—a series of odd, anonymous ...more
Paperback, 113 pages
Published February 19th 2019 by New York Review of Books (first published 1981)
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Average rating 3.29  · 
Rating details
 ·  139 ratings  ·  31 reviews

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Jon Nakapalau
Aug 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a wonderfully dystopian vision - absurdist and seasoned with existential angst - the interlocking stories seem to fray into the last attempt to stay connected when everything is lost beyond salvation; powerful and haunting.
David Schaafsma
A NYRB English translation and re-release of a 1981 witty dystopian book by Charlie Hebdo cartoonist Gébé about a time, post-nuclear fallout, when wealthy people live in relatively comfortable underground bunkers waiting to be able to come back above the ground and live the life they were living before. But the postmen are above the ground, still delivering the mail, though in hazmat suits, and the “mail” such as it is a series of stories, “delivered” orally.

The fact that the “mail” from the
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Originally published in 1981, this is (sadly) an evergreen story of a fallout, the wealthy who took cover in their bunkers below their perfectly manicured lawns, and the dedicated postman who rides through the desolate landscape, hazmat suit on tight, and reads the families their mail through the ventilation shaft. It's snarky, on-the-nose, and honestly just way too reminiscent of some current affairs.

While I didn't go into this reading with a strong understanding of the French history involved
Mar 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
Another quick read, I was intrigued at first then just wanted to get it over with.
Aug 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
Okay, admittedly this one was a cover art library grab. I suppose the general concept of a mailman delivering letters in a post-apocalypse setting had some promise, but the author somehow managed to make that boring. The art is basically the main thing going for this graphic novel. The simplistic style of the sketches were nice and got the point across. However, the narrative itself felt garbled and disjointed. This could've very well been a translation issue, as my version was a French to ...more
Rod Brown
Mar 27, 2019 rated it did not like it
European science fiction often sucks. In this godawful piece, a mailman crosses a nuclear wasteland to read boring and stupid stories to survivors cowering in their bunkers. This is supposed to be a call to revolution or anarchy or something, but I'll stick with my dreary life of consumerism over reading more of this dreck.
Jun 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this.

Here's the easy premise: the apocalypse has happened, and a mailman continues to bring the mail around, only he's got to speak the letters now to prevent contamination. And, well, you'll see the rest. This is of course French science fiction, and so the twists are philosophical, not narrative.

Edward Gauvin's introduction is a nicely plotted, well-written essay to help the reader new to French post-war comics. Gauvin is always invaluable and here he shines as brightly as usual.

Bonnie Morse
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this short book. The mailman's stories were interesting, the ideas so old they're almost new again, and the end struck me as appropriately ambiguous. Is it positive? Or is it as hopelessly ominous as I suspect? It depends on who you think is in charge.
Apr 04, 2019 rated it liked it
I suspect this might have resonated with me a great deal more if the vignettes in the letter connected to my own cultural nostalgia, but even without that depth of emotional connection, I appreciate what Gébé expresses here about how the destruction of humanity starts long before its literal destruction—and can, perhaps, be prevented from recurring if we change the ways people view themselves and how their actions shape the world. I also greatly enjoyed Gauvin's introduction...and the insights ...more
Jul 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Odd, in a good way I think.
Apr 14, 2019 rated it did not like it
I was expecting something much different from a post-apocalyptic graphic novel, but once I read the introduction, especially about Gebe being an anarchist, I realized that this was going to be *different*, as we say in the passive-aggressive Midwest. This was just entirely too *different* for me.
Feb 25, 2019 rated it liked it
An interesting story, quick to read. Makes you stop and think about the consequences of actions.
Moon Captain
Aug 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Act now! On your own! Outside government systems!
Jul 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Simple and quick read. A graphic novel. Takes maybe an hour. Two, if you stop to make tea and end up tidying the kitchen while you wait for the water to boil.

Weird, at first, and perplexing. So you keep reading. And then it gets philosophical. Political. Political-philosophical. Ah! Satire.

By the end I'm wondering what the author's point was all along. Because there could be several take-aways. Maybe depending on how to the left or to the right you bend.

A family is stuck underground in a bomb
Perhaps I'm not French enough to get all the nuances. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the concept. Probably need to re-read and discuss with others.
Apr 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
A funny satire of the human condition under bunker stress. Humans, deprived of their own creature comforts and way of comfy life, stuffed in bunkers after an epic, global disaster, separated from other nuclear (ha!) families, are visited by the postman who reads letters from an anonymous source as they listen through the ventilation shaft of their bunker. The letters seem bent on reminiscing the good old times with simple pleasures and usually end up riling up either the father or the mother of ...more
Mary Turner
Jun 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Pretty brilliant. Nice introduction by Edward Gauvin.
Robert Weinstein
Apr 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Funny, haunting, unique. A mysterious take on the apocalypse.
Peter Landau
Apr 02, 2019 rated it liked it
LETTERS TO SURVIVORS by French cartoonist and one-time editor and contributor to the infamous Charlie Hebdo, Gébé, tells the story of a post-apocalyptic world in which the privileged have buried themselves in underground bunkers where hazmat-suited postman deliver missives to them across the barren wasteland. Letters with tales of the past are read by the postman to the survivors as they huddle in their hovels. These are the stories we tell ourselves to live, I guess. But overall, there was not ...more
Oct 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
A clan of postmen don hazmat suits and go around to the survivors of some war, reading them "letters" that are unconnected and strange. Clearly, they have some ulterior motive, as revealed by the ending, but I don't know what it is.

Gébé definitely makes some interesting point here, about the necessity of stories and images and imagination, but unfortunately I just don't understand the rest.
Dec 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Dystopian wit with its propaganda strategy as the postman deliver subtle chasm day by day to the survivors’ eventual further demise. Gèbè’s sharp commentary mirrors our current society today, from how the media and news propaganda are reaching each strata of the demographics, to how the people choose to consume and react their consumption with each passing feed to drive their own mind to its eventual demise.
Rich Engel
Jul 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Post-apocalyptic French graphic novel originally from 1982 and was then nominally about nuclear war, today it's applicable to climate disaster and generally the subtext is political complacency. Short, somewhat maudlin/frenchy.
Vishal Katariya
Seemed like an Important work, but I didn't really understand it. It was riveting to begin with, and somehow unspooled. Anyway, I enjoy marking books to be in my "pathos" shelf, and this one belongs there too.
Melissa Sisk
Aug 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
2 1/2

I like the premise, but the style it was written in didn’t resonate with me. As well, be aware of a blip of old-school racism.
Sep 21, 2019 rated it liked it
So weird. I liked the way it all came together, but... so weird. 3*
May 16, 2019 rated it liked it
Weird little post-apocalyptic story. Really neat drawing style.
May 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2019-print-books
This is like an episode of The Twilight Zone as a graphic novel. I didn't read the seven-page introduction so there's likely more to this than I gathered.
Aug 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Melancholy and insidious.
Marlena Grace
May 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
Okay, so it was a fast read. I liked the premise and I liked the art, but it just seemed? pointless? Like, I can tell there was an intended greater meaning at the end but it was just bleh. Nothing impressive. I would have liked it more if the stories had more of an apparent and less veiled meaning (so veiled I still don't quite understand?).
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Georges Blondeaux, dit Gébé, est un dessinateur français, né le 9 juillet 1929 à Villeneuve-Saint-Georges, mort le 5 avril 2004 (à 74 ans) à Melun (Seine-et-Marne).

Entamant sa carrière comme dessinateur industriel à la SNCF en 1947, il publie ses premiers dessins humoristiques dans La Vie du Rail magazine. C'est dans les années 1960 qu'il se fait connaître dans d'importants magazines comme Paris