The Silence of the Hippo

By David Böhm (Centrala)
ISBN: 978-1912278060 (HB)

Culture is an aspect of shared experiences and for all of us that begins with stories we hear as children. We all grow up with a lexicon of myths, legends and fairy tales that become an inner landscape, and most of us spend the rest of our lives adding to that store.

But how do those tales resonate with the primary receptor: the young kids that experience them fresh and raw and free of world experience to measure them against?

Someone who knows a bit about that is Terezie Böhmova Imlaufová. In 2008, she worked as volunteer teacher in Bozom, in the Central African Republic. On day she asked her pupils to write down the myths and stories of their ancestors and the results were muddled, charming, strange and utterly compelling.

The melange of everyday contemporary African life, fabulous legends and innocent but developing internal logic was so beguiling that Terezie’s brother – award-winning Czech cartoonist and illustrator David Böhm – adapted them into the stunning strip parables contained in this compelling and colossal (248 x 64 x 3302 mm) hardback tome.

Printed in muted, sandy sepia and black and rendered in splendidly and surprisingly adaptable silhouettes (like those old shadow-play stories that used to sneak out of Eastern Europe and onto our TV screens during the 1960s), this compendium offers a brilliant peek into the minds of children and lasting power of myth.

The blend of Aesop’s Fable, Just-So story and African traditional tale comprises the mundane and the incredible as ‘The Cat and the Rat’, ‘The Magic Pot’, ‘Anie and Danie’, ‘The Woman who Wanted to Get Married’, ‘The Raven and the Fox’, ‘The Spider, his Wife and Children’, ‘The Monkey and the Crocodile’, ‘Two Brothers’, ‘About the Little Girl Mary’, ‘Mister Raven and the Hen’, ‘Glive, the Little Kerosene Merchant’, ‘A Man and his Two Wives’, ‘The Boy that Misbehaved’, ‘About a Fish, Water, Moon and Sun’, ‘The Spider and the Wild Yam’, ‘The Dog King’, ‘The Girl that Misbehaved’, ‘A Glass of Honey’, ‘The Dad and Meat, ‘The Hyena, the Goat and the Dog’, ‘The Siblings and a Flower’and ‘John the Baptist’ reveal in a dark, absurd and unforgettable manner how different and similar we all are…

Supplemented by poetry from Paul Niger, a foreword and biographies of all concerned, this is sheer exotic delight with an exceptional edge and unlimited entertainment value.
© David Böhm 2019 to stejné © Labyrint, 2009 U překladového copyright doplnit rok 2019: copyright @ Andrew Lass 2019. All rights reserved.