The cicada having worked all year …

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Turn the pages of this album like you read a poem and delve into the naked and abrupt truth of the business. A cold and calm truth. The language chosen is that of the typed administrative report. “Tik, Tik, Tik.” It only takes a few words to say the main thing, the power of the images will do the rest. This book is revealed like a metallic cry.

The main character is a cicada locked in the winter of modernity. Here everything is bigger than Cigale. The lockers, the offices and the protocols to which she must submit without ever understanding them. We are in a Kafkaesque universe, the company replaced the castle. A sound universe escapes from this story, we can very well perceive the muffled cadence of computer keyboards, the metal casings that tense when pushed and the noise of elevator doors colliding. Opening, tik, closing, tik. Here everything is gray. A gray that prevents daydreaming. Gray too, the costume under which Cigale is trying to hide her difference.

Because Cicada is not human. It’s an insect. It’s the animal and singular part of each of us. An allegory of the difficulty of living your difference in the world of work. To merge into rules, places, uses that contradict our nature. Others’s indifference, wickedness too. “Human colleagues do not like Cicada. Say things. Do things. Believe Cicada beast. “ Or “Always Cicada stay late. Finish work. No one say thank you Cicada. “

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This is a children’s book for adults and acts as a revelation of conscience. It looks like a little red pill, like the Matrix. Its author and illustrator, the Australian Shaun Tan, knows well the universe of special effects, he works with the animation studios Blue Sky and Pixar.

Cicada from Shaun Tan, Gallimard Jeunesse, 32 pp., € 14.90. Starting from 7 years old.

Tania Kahn

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