The Song of Roland
192 pages, 7.5×10 inches, black and white
Winner of the 2013 Doug Wright Award for Best Book
Translation by Helge Dascher
The Song of Roland focuses on the life and death of the father-in-law of Rabagliati’s alter-ego Paul, who has been called “The Tintin of Quebec” By Le Devoir. The French edition, Paul à Québec, was critically hailed, winning the FNAC Audience Award at France’s Angouleme festival, a Shuster Award for Outstanding Cartoonist, and was nominated for the City of Montreal’s Grand Prize, and the Audience Award at Montreal’s Salon du Livre. The book is currently in production by Caramel Films. In his classic European cartooning style Rabagliati effortlessly tackles big subjects. As the family stands vigil over Roland in his hospital bed, Rabagliati weaves a story of one man’s journey through life and the legacy he leaves behind. The Song of Roland is a mid-career masterpiece from one of Quebec’s finest draftsmen.
“Rabagliati’s one-degree-from-autobiography Paul books comprise nothing less than an ongoing social history of modern Quebec in microcosm, all the more effective for being so unassuming. If you’re looking for a cross-discipline parallel, think of Michel Tremblay’s Plateau Mont-Royal cycle; the domestic scenes in Jean-Marc Vallee’s C.R.A.Z.Y. are also in the same orbit. Ultimately, though, Rabagliati’s work stands on its own, using a European-style visual aesthetic and a telescopic eye for the illuminating detail to tell a uniquely new-world story. If the series up to now has been gently poignant, achieving its impact by gradual accumulation of anecdote, The Song of Roland ramps up the emotional content by telling the story of Paul’s father-in-law’s fight with cancer. As ever, Rabagliati declines to resort to easy manipulation: we care about his characters because we have been placed so vividly in the center of their ordinary lives. If your eyes are dry at the end of The Song of Roland, consult your physician, because there must be some kind of faulty tear-duct mechanism going on.” —Montreal Gazette
“Paul is a comic book character who is stirring up ever more fervour in Quebec with each new book detailing his life. He has become much more popular than Asterix, than any American superhero.” – Toronto Star
“A formidable ode to life that reminds us of the importance of knowing how to say goodbye” – La Presse
“A novel that goes straight to the heart” – Le Soleil
“His stories are personally revealing but gentle, full of kind people with common problems… Rabagliati employs a light, curvy drawing style and episodic plotting that overtly recalls Herge’s Tintin adventures.” — The Onion
Michel Rabagliati was born in 1961 in Montreal, where he grew up in the Rosemont neighbourhood. Having developed an interest in typography, he studied graphic design and in 1988 moved into freelance illustration. Since 1998, his graphic novels have revolutionized the comic-book art form in Quebec. With his six books, Michel Rabagliati has become an essential figure in the comics scene of Quebec. In April 2005, he was awarded the Grand Prix de la ville de Québec, care of the Festival de BD de Québec, and was selected as a Personality of the Week by the daily newspaper La Presse. In 2007, Rabagliati’s body of work to date earned a Special Mention from the Prix des libraires du Québec.