This idyllically verdant scene is just outside La Rive, the fictional village in la France profonde which is backdrop to Natalie d'Arbeloff's illustrated serial story, La Vie en Rosé, appearing at intervals on her blog, Blaugustine.
When Natalie first began spinning this tale, I enjoyed her usual fluent, sparkling prose and her talent for glorious whimsy, along with some lovely illustrations in her trademark style - another flight of outrageous fancy from my brilliant artist friend.
But the story grew, and has grown on me. The two pictured above are pretty primal characters: insecure, alcoholic ex-pat Susan, unhappy wife of an egocentric writer, and gruff, introverted village priest, Père Lafitte. Reading the latest episode, it occurred to me that here, in words as well as pictures, was much of what I most love in Natalie’s Augustine cartoons and comic strips: great skill and acuity in the service of something that at first appears to be delightful caricature, but on reflection – yes, here you are, reflecting – has serious and moving things to say about human habits, what we’re like and what we want.