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An exquisitely drawn, sinuous exploration of the city after-hours
As night falls in the city of Belgium, three strangers in their late twenties—a most dangerous age—arrive at a popular restaurant. Jona is about to move away; he calls his wife, who’s already settled in Berlin, before trying to make plans with friends for one last night on the town. No one bites—they’re all busy, or maybe they just don’t want to party—but he’s determined to make this night something to remember. Victoria is lively and energetic, but surrounded by friends and family who are buzzkills, always worrying about what is best for her. Rodolphe is consoled by a friend and snaps out of his funk, becoming the life of the party. The three careen through the city’s nightlife spots and underbelly, chasing pleasure—or at least a few distractions from the thrum of the humdrum. Each has a series of adventures that reveal them to be teetering on the edge between lucid dream and tooth-grinding nightmare.
Vibrantly rendered in Brecht Evens’s swirling watercolors, The City of Belgium continues the critically acclaimed streak of graphic novels he began with The Wrong Place, The Making Of, and Panther. Evens’s darkly comic stories of characters on the verge of personal discovery—people about to become who they will be for the rest of their lives—have never been more beautifully conceived, more intricately planned, than in his magical new graphic novel, The City of Belgium.
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The Belgian cartoonist Brecht Evens was born in 1986 and studied illustration in Ghent, Belgium. The Wrong Place (2009) started out as a graduation project and was a departure from the more typical comic art of his earlier work. It won the Haarlem Comic Festival’s Willy Vandersteen Award for best Dutch-language graphic novel, and an award at the Angoulême International Comics Festival. He followed The Wrong Place with The Making Of (2012) and the critically acclaimed Panther (2016), which appeared on numerous best-of-the-year lists, including NPR, Vulture, Paste, and others. Evens lives in Paris in a charming and oh-so-Parisian garret apartment.
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