The experience of being different in an unfriendly country is brought home in this affecting work by Ruillier, who’s originally from Madagascar but lives in France.
It follows an undocumented immigrant to a new home in the west, but only tells his story through the eyes of others. The neighbour, the advocate, the friend and so on, each time giving a different perspective. The main character has no name, no voice. He could be anyone. It’s clever, and even a little shocking.
A story of xenophobia and the slimmest of hopes, The Strange is rendered in a rough art style, too, adding atmosphere with just minimal colour. Everyone’s a near-scribbled animal figure and the effect is profound.
In today’s world, where talk of borders is never missing from the news cycle, The Strange is an important book. Everybody’s strange somewhere.