The small, slim volume is quite minimalist in terms of what’s on the page, but at the same time is emotionally rich and complex.The Quietus
Girard revisits the childhood death of his little brother – his most emotional and spare work
Burdened with grief, confusion, and anger, Pascal Girard explores the childhood passing of his five-year-old brother. Girard delves into the emotional repercussions of this life-changing trauma, from his memories as a nine-year old struggling to understand up until present day, twenty-five years after the shattering loss. At the heart of Nicolas lies the question shared by most undergoing bereavement: why? This confusion multiplies for a young boy with few answers to his questions, lacking even a basic explanation of the cause of his brother's departure. As sorrow and guilt are muffled by time and the flurry of even the most typical childhood and adolescence, this is a story of grief not grieved, and a glimpse into the ongoing process of reckoning. Pascal struggles to reconcile the magnitude of this tragedy with the minutiae of his daily experience of loss. Nicolas is a delicate, minimalist portrait of the many faces of mourning, identified with surprising humor and pathos by an artist who knows them intimately.
Originally published in a micro-run ten years ago, Girard creates new comics and an introduction that contemplate the larger effect of Nicolas's death on his current behaviors and habits. With masterful visual restraint, Girard pens a work of great honesty and integrity: Nicolas resonates long after the book is closed, the weight of the story echoing closely the heft of the personal loss.
Nicolas has been translated from the French by Helge Dascher. Dascher has been translating graphic novels from French and German to English for over twenty years. A contributor to Drawn & Quarterly since the early days, her translations include acclaimed titles such as the Aya series by Marguerite Abouet and Clément Oubrerie, Hostage by Guy Delisle, and Beautiful Darkness by Fabien Vehlmann and Kerascoët. With a background in art history and history, she also translates books and exhibitions for museums in North America and Europe. She lives in Montreal.
Praise for Nicolas
This graphic stream of consciousness about his life — before and after — is a powerful testament to brotherly love and healing.The Miami Herald
Girard captures a high level of intimacy, though the book is composed solely of scene drawings.Rookie Magazine
The honesty and immediacy of Nicolas take my breath away. There’s humor in it, but there is also real, gut-wrenching grief. I feel thankful that this book exists, and that Pascal allows us into his heart so completely.Melissa Mendes
I can think of few graphic novels that pack more emotional punch per page than Pascal Girard’s Nicolas.London Free Press
In a small volume that is both gorgeous and raw, Pascal Girard generously shares his own story of loss and coping in an extremely affecting manner. I love it very much.Leslie Stein
The result is raw, rough and unpolished but brutally affecting for something so simple in style and story.Herald Scotland
Girard tells his own story with clarity, never letting himself off the hook easily, nor coming down too hard on himself. He has patience for his own life — and if he doesn’t, who will?Comics Beat
Through the course of the years, Girard sees beyond his veil of accustomed loneliness into a new world of possibility. While the original piece was emotionally powerful in its never-ending journey through the experience of loss, the addition of the continuance of Girard’s life adds to it that there is always hope.Blog Critics