Let’s go to Bordeaux is the latest in a series of illustrated travelogues from the SICBA-dominating Neil Slorance, following on from his previous offerings Nine Lines of Metro and Seven Days in Berlin – both of which I absolutely loved but shamefully haven’t officially reviewed (spoiler: they’re both great).
While some other travelogues can have a tendency to become bogged down in trying to churn out facts and figures about the places being visited, Slorance keeps things as light-hearted and accessible as always here, focusing more on his amusing observations about his surroundings than on the details of the surroundings themselves. This is a book packed with humour and charm, and Neil’s nervous, somewhat reserved personality shines through in every page as he deals with art galleries, French MacDonalds’ and his dislike of quiche (which is basically just “shoddy pizza”) in his typically straightforward manner.
There are a lot of fantastically touching moments here too, the majority of them centred around Neil’s blossoming relationship with his girlfriend Coralie (whose family they are visiting in Bordeaux in the first place), and in a lot of ways this book comes across as a bit of a love letter from Neil to his new beau as he honestly and unpretentiously recalls the tender moments of their early encounters.
Once again, Neil’s artistic style continues to amaze as he manages to pack so much expression into these rudimentary little figures with lines for mouths, adding all manner of neat little touches to the proceedings, whether it’s his wide-eyed delight at the magnitude of a buffet (“oh my days” indeed) or his quiet disapproval of Coralie’s love of cats (who are, in his own words, “arseholes”). Visually, this isn’t the polished, digitally-coloured Slorance that we see in the pages of the critically acclaimed Dungeon Fun, but rather a slightly rougher (yet no less expressive) style that almost feels like it has been plucked directly from the pages of his sketchpad. There’s no colour to be had here, save for the cover, and aside from a couple of rare exceptions the pages here all stick to his typical six-panel layout.
In a lot of ways, Let’s go to Bordeaux feels a lot like reading somebody else’s diary, which is either going to appeal to you or turn you off completely. Rather than a work of fiction, this is an honest retelling of a significant chapter of Neil’s life, giving us a candid look at his relationship with Coralie as well as a deeper look at the man himself (one that runs far deeper than his dislike of quiche and cats). Humorous and touching in equal measure, this is a book which perfectly showcases Slorance’s gift for instantly-accessible humour and ‘ninja feels’, as well as being extremely difficult – if not impossible – to read without a big ol’ smile on your face. If you’re a fan of Neil’s work, this is going to be an essential purchase, and if not… well… this will serve as a perfect introduction. Get it bought.
You can buy yourself a copy of Let’s go to Bordeaux for the princely sum of just £4 from Neil’s Etsy Store, and make sure you’re following the Art By Neil Slorance Facebook page for all the latest news and artwork from the man himself.