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I want to hear all your thoughts and opinions
The Forgotten Slaves of Tromelin by Sylvain Savoia
Published: September 16, 2016
Publisher: Europe Comics
Genres: graphic novel, comic, history
Rating: 4 stars
Recommend to fans of: learning about history in a unique way, socially/culturally relevant comics, forgotten moments in history, graphic novels with a purpose
Read with food: water and be so thankful for every drop
This story takes place on a tiny, far-flung island in the middle of the Indian Ocean, whose nearest neighbor is Madagascar, 500 kilometers away… In 1760, the Utile, a ship carrying black slaves from Africa, was shipwrecked here and abandoned by her crew. The surviving slaves had to struggle to stay alive in this desolate land for fifteen years… When this tale got back to France, it became the cornerstone of the battle of Enlightenment to outlaw slavery. More than two hundred years later, the artist Sylvain Savoia accompanied the first archeological mission in search of understanding how these men and women, who had come from the high mountains of Madagascar, had survived alone in the middle of the ocean. This is the story of that mission, through which we’re exposed to the extraordinary story of the slaves themselves.
Thank you to NetGalley, Europe Comics, and Sylvain Savoia for a copy of the comic to review. As always, an honest review.
I read the entire graphic novel in a day. By nature, they’re not too long, but since I hadn’t heard about Tromelin before I absolutely had to find out what happened to all the slaves shipwrecked on the island.
I’m not a huge fan of graphic novels and comics, because most of them are based on superheroes. Not my thing! However, when I saw this one I knew I had to read it. I first noticed the illustrations. They’re gorgeous, detailed, evocative of so many emotions, and incredibly powerful. They tell the story wonderfully. The combination of the illustrations and text makes the emotions jump off the page. I felt as if I was right there trapped on the ship with the slaves ~ tired, scared, hot, hungry.
Not too many graphic novels discuss slavery, especially a part of history that’s as forgotten as Tromelin. I certainly hadn’t heard of it before reading this. The story is told by alternating from present day scientists, journalists, archeologists, etc. excavating the site, and the historical events as they were occurring.
While the history was wonderfully done, the parts about the present day excavations were only okay. Their findings of long lost artifacts did help to complete the story. Also definitely a trigger warning for slavery, assault, abandonment, etc.
Overall, I highly recommend reading The Forgotten Slaves of Tromelin. Powerful, emotive, impactful, an important part of history that’s told through gorgeous illustrations in this graphic novel.
Random Question of the Review:
What book has opened your eyes to something new, recently?