The story of an exile in Geneva told in a cartoon strip

With “Wonderland”, Italian-Swiss illustrator Tom Tirabosco brings us a tender but powerful cartoon this spring. This autobiographical account depicts Tirabosco’s life moving from Rome to Geneva. The eternal city sees the destinies of Jacqueline, a Swiss tourist, and Antonio, a hotel worker passionate about bel canto, entwine. Tom was born in 1966 and his brother Michel two years later. But he arrived in the world without hands and with a crippled leg. They had to move to Switzerland to meet his special needs. A third child completed the family.

“Wonderland” recounts Tom’s hopes and fears in black and white. The boy, who grew up in a working class environment in the Geneva outskirts, finds himself stuck between a quick-tempered and macho but loving father and a brother who is suffering but has a burning desire to live. How was he to find his place in this environment, with a mother who also had a rebellious streak?

Illustration is the path Tom took to escape, inspired by his love of small animals and oceans. Indeed the pollution of the world plunges the illustrator into despair. There is nevertheless no shortage of humour in this comic strip.

This work by Tirabosco can also be read as the story of the children of generation X.


Tom Tirabosco “Wonderland”; éditions Atrabile, Geneva; 136 pages; CHF 25.50. EUR 22.


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