Salvatore 1: Transports of Love
JT Lindroos — 16-Dec-10
Salvatore is an artist trapped in the small body of a French canine car mechanic. He is hopelessly in love with Julie, a pooch with a shiny fur and a tender smile. But Julie was taken across the oceans to South America and the only way our hero can get to his love is by following her. For a dog of small means, this is not an easy task.
So Salvatore decides to build a vehicle able to reach those mythical far shores, hoping that Julie doesn’t fall in love and marry a wealthy latin greyhound while Salvatore slowly compiles his masterwork from parts stolen, borrowed and, occasionally, paid-for.
Nicolas De Crecy has the naturalistic fluid line of a master cartoonist. His work in Salvatore is deceptively simple, but it suits the story with the hand of a master tailor. Although the plot appears lightweight and may be too low-key for some readers, the accumulative power of the book is tremendous. This is helped in no small way by NBM‘s decision to publish the first two volumes of the French original under a single cover.
What makes Salvatore stand out is how the essentially melancholy tale is punctuated by real honest-to-goodness emotion. It’s fairly rare to find a book that effectively balances comedy and tragedy, but De Crecy’s peculiar gift is to find pathos through absurdity, which to my fairly well-seasoned eye comes off as unique. The love of the myopic pig Amandine for her one lost son to the expense of the other twelve. The self-delusional lies of Salvatore in order to bolster his self-esteem in front of his tiny human companion. The demise of the Bentley owner in the bullring. The loneliness and terror of Frank, the lost little piglet. There are sections in the story which reach both spectacular madness and sublime grace, sometimes at the same time.
The discreet charm of Salvatore lies in its heart, and reading the book you’ll believe that even pigs can fly. Now if only I could read French so I could immediately get to the rest of story. Salvatore 1: Transports of Love comes with a high recommendation for the curious and the adventurous.