‘The Tale of One Bad Rat’ is a story dealing with incest, and the psychological toll it takes on its victims. It was originally published in 1995, back when such talk was still considered taboo, and Talbot wanted to break the silence in his own way.
He did a lot of research to get his facts right and to be able to translate an incest victim’s thoughts and emotions to the page. And thus we have Helen’s tale, a journey of understanding, exorcism and healing.
It’s nothing like what I had expected, after having read Talbot’s ‘Grandville’, but it’s a well-made book and hard to not appreciate it; the writing is solid throughout and the art, while not as breathtaking as in the other book, is realistic and serves the story very well.
I think part of the experience is lost on me however, both because of my limited understanding of the subject matter and because it’s all woven in parallel with Beatrix Potter’s life and works. And, since I know nothing of Beatrix Potter, I’m guessing that a lot of nuances unfortunately went unnoticed.
Still, I enjoyed this ‘Tale’ and would recommend it to anyone who wants something sober and thought-provoking. It’s not your standard “funny book”, that’s for sure. And, in this case, that’s a good thing.