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Paco Roca, Translator: Andrea Rosenberg

Return to Eden

On sale date: February 27, 2024

The celebrated Spanish cartoonist’s most ambitious work yet is a touching homage to his mother and a bittersweet depiction of life in post-war Spain.

It all starts with a photograph: an ordinary scene of a young woman and her family picnicking at a Valencian beach in 1947. Now in her twilight years, Antonia cherishes this photo dearly; it holds the memories of her upbringing, her family — the key to her Eden. Taking off from this routine family outing, cartoonist Paco Roca paints a heartfelt portrait of his mother’s formative years. This delicate portrayal of a humble family is at once an intimate biographical story and a broader reflection of the hardscrabble existence many faced in post-war Spain. Antonia and her family soldier through constant hunger, the shady dealings of the black market, traumas of war and parental abuse, and the oppressive atmosphere wrought by the Catholic church and Franco’s authoritarian regime — and yet, they find oases of joy and wonder in cinema, imagination, and small acts of kindness.

Roca is known the world over for his quietly powerful graphic novels, from Twists of Fate to The House, and this latest masterwork may just be his magnum opus. In Return to Eden, Roca manages to charge quotidian life with rare poignancy, in all its daily struggles and daydreams, and readers will come away deeply affected.


"This unsentimental yet heartfelt family chronicle is another triumph for Roca, sure to win favor with readers of European comics and Elena Ferrante alike." — Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Roca's massively appealing illustration and masterly sense of narrative make [his stories] exceptionally compelling." — Library Journal

"A study of the complex relationships of family and the ties that bind from a storyteller whose powerful depiction of human frailties is both haunting and ever recognizable." — Broken Frontier

"His most personal graphic novel to date, a nostalgia-soaked ode to the Franco-era Valencia of his mother's youth." — Cinema Sentries

"A precious (and sad) tribute to a generation of women who grew up fed with crumbs of happiness." — Fantastic Mag


9.8" × 7.1"