Based on Abouet's remembrance of her childhood in Abidjan...the story, along with French illustrator Oubrerie's artwork, brings to life an Ivory Coast not seen before, a place overflowing with vibrant, rich textiles, new words, music, food, and lively characters filled with humor, love, and the hope for a better life.Library Journal
"That's what I wanted to show in Aya: an Africa without the...war and famine, an Africa that endures despite everything because, as we say back home, life goes on."—Marguerite Abouet
Ivory Coast, 1978. Family and friends gather at Aya's house every evening to watch the country's first TV ad campaign promote the fortifying effects of Solibra, "the strong man's beer." It's a golden time, and the nation, too--an oasis of affluence and stability in West Africa--seems fueled by something wondrous.
Who's to know that the Ivorian miracle is nearing its end? In the sun-warmed streets of working class Yopougon, aka Yop City, holidays are around the corner, the open-air bars and discos are starting to fill up, and trouble of a different kind is about to raise eyebrows. At night, an empty table in the market square under the stars is all the privacy young lovers can hope for, and what happens there is soon everybody's business.
Aya tells the story of its 19-year old heroine, the studious and clear-sighted Aya; her easy-going friends Adjoua and Bintou; and their meddling relatives and neighbors. It's a breezy and wryly funny account of the desire for joy and freedom, and of the simple pleasures and private troubles of everyday life in Yop City. An unpretentious and gently humorous story of an Africa we rarely see-- spirited, hopeful and resilient. Aya won the 2006 award for Best First Album at the Angouleme International Comics Festival. Clement Oubrerie's warm colors and energetic, playful line connect expressively with Marguerite Abouet's vibrant writing.