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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Stig and Tilde: Vanisher's Island
by Max de Radigues
Age Range: 12+
Twins Stig and Tilde are about to embark on an adventure. In their town, for as long as anyone can remember, tradition has it that when a child turns fourteen, they have to travel by boat to one of the hundred islands around the town and survive alone for one year. Nowadays teenagers meet up for just a month at a summer camp on the biggest and closest island Tysla.
As the intrepid pair take a boat and head out to Tylsa disaster strikes when a storm sends them off course and they end up stranded on the wrong island. With only a diminishing food supply Stig and Tilde must find a way to survive and make their boat seaworthy again. The island appears to be uninhabited but they find there’s more to their eerie surroundings than meets the eye.
This Comic/graphic novel by Belgian cartoonist Max de Radigučs, translated by Marie Bédrune, is a coming-of-age story; a mix of humour and adventure with an undercurrent of foreboding. De Radigues builds up the mystery with twists and turns in the story which takes an unexpected unearthly direction as the twins adapt to their new surroundings.
While appearing deceptively simple, the story is sophisticated in its delivery, exploring a variety of themes from the sibling rivalry, self-reliance, loneliness, fear and obsession. As the story progresses there is a sense of unease permeates, a feeling that something untoward is going to happen. The illustrations demonstrate the fear and danger with the dense dark palette while the vivid bright colours allow us to see the beauty of the island and experience some of the lighter moments.
Following in the tradition of Herge’s Tintin, Stig & Tilde is a welcome addition to this genre and is sure to be popular with readers.