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The Real Hergé (Hardback)

The Inspiration Behind Tintin

Social History White Owl

By Sian Lye
Imprint: White Owl
Pages: 216
Illustrations: 32 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781526763907
Published: 17th November 2020

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Hergé created only twenty-four Tintin books which have been translated into more than seventy languages and sold 230 million copies worldwide.

The Real Hergé: The Inspiration Behind Tintin takes an in-depth look at the man behind the cultural phenomenon and the history that helped shape these books.

As well as focussing on the controversies that engulfed Hergé, this biography will also look at his personal life, as well as the relationships and experiences that influenced him.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This book was a pleasant surprise! Childhood memories of Tintin initially brought me towards this book. I knew that over the years there were controversies with some of his books, but that was the extent of what I knew. This book is so well researched and gives you such a great glimpse into who Hergé (Rémi!) was! Even thought, it is well researched, it is written in a simple and enchanting way that brings you back to the times this book was written to explain contextually to the reader when the book was written. Great read for anyone who’s ever read Tintin!

NetGalley, Kamila Bouvier

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

There has probably never been as successful European cartoonist as the Belgian, Georges Remi, aka Herge (1907-1983). The man behind the twenty-four hugely popular Tintin adventures is justly celebrated as a formidable creative talent. Yet the real Herge was a more complex and often more lovable character than his most famous creation. Prone to overwork and occasionally extramarital affairs, Herge's life and career have been clouded in controversy with the cartoonist accused of racial stereotyping and of collaborating with the occupying Nazi regime in Belgium during the Second World War.
The truth, as detailed in Sian Lye's well-researched and very readable book is fascinating.

NetGalley, Chris Hallam

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Wow!

Just one word to describe how I felt reading about the author of one of my favourite comics. I have grown up reading Tintin and Asterix. I was blessed. to have visited Belgium as my first international country visit and saw first hand the Tintin store there. I have passed on the love of Tintin to my children too and the TV series as well as Spielberg's movie has made them love it even more. I recently bought an entire set of Tintin comics as well!

This book about Hergé is extremely well written and brings out all the pain and happiness that went on in the creator's life which readers of the comic will never know. It was sad to read about the painful childhood, the controversies and the troubled married life that he experienced. What pained me most was his statement about hating Tintin - that revealed to me how much the creation was constraining the creator and he could not escape that.

The flow of the book is very easy and the author gives good historical context before delving into what happened with Hergé's life at that point. The situations with WWI and WWII are described in just enough detail to appreciate the context and not bore the reader who wants to know more about Hergé. I could read through the book almost completely on one holiday. It was shocking to read of the racist stereotypes that plagued some of the stories- I guess I never saw those versions in print, and so never had an issue with the series. But after reading about it here I can understand the trouble that would have caused especially when things change.

I would highly recommend this book to all Tintin lovers to get yourself to know the man behind the series better.

NetGalley, Srinivasan Tatachari

About Sian Lye

Sian Lye is a journalist who has written for a wide variety of national newspapers and magazines, including The Sunday Times, The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Independent, ShortList, Esquire and Marie Claire. Sian has spent several years living abroad in Japan, and most recently in Switzerland. She now lives in Brighton, and balances writing with family life.

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