La rue de l'ours.jpg


Marie Desplechin and Serge Bloch

(L’Iconoclaste, 192 pages, 2018)



The novelist Marie Desplechin lends her pen to the thoughts of Serge Bloch, a world-renowned illustrator, inheritor of a kosher butchers’ dynasty.

In the rue de l’Ours, Colmar, there is a kosher butcher’s shop. Butchery is the stock-in-trade of the Bloch family and is passed down from father to son. Serge Bloch describes his grandfather, and his parents who fled during the war. The 1960s. The rituals of the Jewish community. He describes a time of great happiness and childhood mischief. He brings to life a gallery of strong, attractive characters.

Although the butcher’s shop has now closed, the legacy remains: that of the art of movement, and its beauty. Care and attention, hard work and precision are the hallmarks of either craft. The knife is now a pencil: the legacy lives on.

Bloch’s past emerges from Marie Desplechin’s meticulous and sensitive pen, while Serge Bloch, with a stroke of his pen, sketches scenes that were buried deep in his memory. Two artists who share an infectious sense of humour unite to create this superb book.

Born in Colmar, Serge Bloch has illustrated more than 300 books; his editorial illustrations appear regularly in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, as well as GQ and National Geographic, and two of his books have been turned into animated series. Bloch's works have been exhibited in New York, Los Angeles, France and Italy. Bloch has received awards for his artwork and illustrations from around the world, including a Gold Medal from the Society of Illustrators, the Prix Baobab, the Bologna Ragazzi Award and the Best Book Award in Taiwan.

After studying classical literature and journalism, Marie Desplechin worked in the press, in advertising, and as a teacher. She has also written young adult fiction for L’École des loisirs.