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Be weird and (still) happy

Be weird and (still) happy

This is the goal of many people from the LGBTIQ* community. Swedish author and illustrator Elias Eriksson attempts to show this possibility in his graphic novel “Diana and Charlie,” which has now been published in German.

Written by Christian Bausch

Diana and Charlie are two teenagers about to turn eighteen. They like to go out, sometimes they drink too much, they argue with their parents and they still have to manage school somehow. They’re best friends, which is important in a world where they’re often excluded and mistreated, because Diana and Charlie are, in their words: “too transformed for the world.”

Radio FM4 | Christian Bausch

Elias Eriksson signs for Buch Vienna. If you’re lucky, you might even get a cat drawn next to your signature.

As Diana struggles to begin her long-awaited hormone treatment, Charlie sinks deeper and deeper into a dark hole of depression and self-harm. Being happy and weird is still too far for them. But the author Elijah Erickson “The book ends – ‘Burn!’ – on a good note,” he says in Buch Wien’s FM4 interview.

The young Swedish illustrator and author Elias Eriksson is visibly happy that his book has now been translated into German, and his fans are happy too: after the general discussion at the book fair, most of the young people lined up for a long time to get an autograph from Elias to be able to get Eriksson’s. It is clear that his strange stories have fascinated many readers, as well as his wonderful drawing style, which makes it easy for us to start with his book “Diana and Charlie.”

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“It’s based on a lot of experiences that different LGBT people have had,” Elias Eriksson says about the book’s content. And with “Diana and Charlie” he really succeeded in creating the kind of universal coming-of-age story that doesn’t shy away from the darker sides of growing up. “Living life as a gay teen and especially a trans teen is kind of depressing at this point, with everything going on in the world and everyone having an opinion about trans people and especially trans youth.”

book

Radio FM4 | Christian Bausch

Diana and Charlie listen to The Cure and Crystal Castles, are infatuated with Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, and have a complicated relationship with Morrissey. Together they rebel against the “independent straightness” (nice word from the book!) of their circle of friends and always save each other from many unpleasant situations. Then of course there are the parents, first love, antidepressants, and lots of partying.

book

Radio FM4 | Christian Bausch

“Diana and Charlie” by Elijah Erickson In the Lovechacht Verlag Published with a translation from Swedish by Andreas Donat.

Living under each other’s skin

Elias Eriksson recognizes that a strong and often toxic close friendship, like Diana and Charlie’s, only exists in the teenage years: “It’s a very adolescent way to have a friend, like living under another’s skin.” The two friends are also one of the most interesting themes in this graphic novel. Even if you are a teenager a long time ago, after reading “Diana and Charlie” you will remember these emotional times very well.

At the end of the conversation I asked Elias if he thought his two heroes would remain friends after the end of the book: “I think they’ll keep each other at a little more distance. “Their friendship will mature into something healthier.” That sounds nice and that’s what we hope for both of them. There won’t be a sequel For a “Diana & Charlie” movie right now, Elias Eriksson has a lot of other elements in the fire for it.

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