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The Clan by Rasmus Malm and Matilda Ruta

Sophie Jouffreau, who translates into French, recommends a fast-paced book that touches on several themes that are highly important during one’s teenage years.

The Translator's Choice

The Clan by Rasmus Malm and Matilda Ruta.

At an auction 13-year-old Lova is fascinated by a collection of naturalistic posters. The paintings on them all, unusually, depict… hyenas. This same kind of fascination is what drives Lova to return, every night, to the Woodland Cemetery, where she begins an investigation together with her school friend Josef. Not only can they hear strange howling and laughing noises at night, but bodies are also being dug up. Gradually it becomes more and more difficult for Lova to control her reactions, reactions she doesn’t even understand herself. The teenager who previously lived a humdrum existence is suddenly faced with a critical decision.

Should she go with Josef to the cinema and maybe (in that really classic, but somewhat boring way) become his girlfriend – or should she follow the women of her family who have definitely chosen an unconventional life, who have chosen to allow the wild to take control?

The book’s clashing graphic styles contribute to creating many different atmospheres: the darkness of the cemetery is painted in blood-red ink, contrasting with the pastel-colours in the everyday scenes. With its fast-paced tempo this exciting comic book is in many ways a product of its time. As well as gender issues, The Clan also touches on several themes that are highly important during one’s teenage years: the porousness of the borderlines between civilisation/human nature and the wild/the animalistic, the questioning of one’s parents as guardians, the search for an identity and a group to belong to.

About the Translator

Sophie Jouffreau

Sophie Jouffreau has been constantly searching for something she can’t even define. For more than a year now she has been living in her own little camper van, driving around on the steep roads of Southern Europe. She feels at home in the mountains, where she loves to climb and trek. Not that long ago she lived in central Paris and worked, amongst other jobs, at the comic book festival in Angoulême.

A selection of previous translations: Drömmen om Europa by Fabian Göransson, Wage Slaves by Daria Bogdanska, Inne i Spegelsalen by Liv Strömqvist.

Rasmus Malm (born 1973)

Flocken is his first book for children

Matilda Ruta (born 1982)

The Ninna series, picture books, 2015–2020
Syskonvecka, picture book, 2020
Det djupa blå, picture book, 2021

Nominations for the August Prize, the Urhunden award and the Elsa Beskow plaque

The Book
Flocken (The Clan), comic book (9–12 years), 2019, 112 pages

Rabén & Sjögren

Rasmus Malm