Russian / Russia
Ja – slon! Grafičeskij roman
(Ya – slon! Grafichesky roman)
(I am an elephant! Graphic novel)
Užinova, Lena (Uzhinova, Lena) (illus.)
Sankt-Peterburg: Bumkniga (Boomkniga), 2017. – 133 p.
Disability | Discrimination | Paternalism | Graphic novel | Comic
Reading age: 14+
White Ravens issue: 2017
This graphic novel was first a theatrical work and still retains that dramatic quality, since its main characters – an elephant and a tattered doll – tell their story on a stage. They represent the body and the mind of a paraplegic person. What one learns from them makes one gulp one instant and laugh out loud the next. For instance: apparently, when one is wheelchair-bound one is supposed to find a girlfriend who also uses a wheelchair, since after all you’d fit so well together. In chat sequences, telephone conversations, and flashbacks, the fictional audience and real readers witness the everyday discrimination, paternalism, boredom, fun, and thoughts about helpless parents and care-workers that people with disabilities face. Vladimir Rudak and Lena Uzhinova worked on this very stirring book for two years. It is the first Russian comic that focuses on the topic of disability. How fortunate that it found its way to the wonderful and wonderfully open-minded Petersburg comic publisher Boomkniga.