Upcoming: ‘Days Of Sand’ – A Best-Seller In Europe, Telling A Forgotten American Tale
by Richard Bruton
SelfMadeHero announces the English-language publication of Aimée de Jongh’s Days of Sand, a bestselling graphic novel inspired by real-life stories of courage and perseverance against all odds captured by photographer John Clark during the Great Depression in 1937.
Written and illustrated by Aimée de Jongh, Days of Sand will be published in English for the first time on Thursday 14th April (with a US release on 19th April).
Set in the United States, 1937, smack in the middle of the Great Depression, Days of Sand tells the tale of 22-year-old photographer John Clark, given the job of documenting the terrible conditions of the dust bowl of the Central and Southern States by the Farm Security Administration.
But when he starts working, the attempts to bring the matter to the public are met with apathy and distrust, with the people affected asking what good are a couple of photos against relentless and deadly dust storms?
Over the course of Clark’s time there he begins to understand the awful conditions these people have to suffer and comes to question his own role and responsibilities in this tragedy sweeping through the center of the country.
Described as “a moving and unforgettable tale, inspired by real-life stories of courage and perseverance against all odds,” Days of Sand is based on true events. In 1937, the federal FSA agency hired photographers to document the lives of farmers across the United States. The Dust Bowl was an oval-shaped region in the Mid-South, that was struck by severe droughts and heavily blowing dust storms. These storms carried so much sand and dust, that they could block all sunlight, turning days into nights. A total of 2.5 million inhabitants decided to leave the area, mostly toward California, in search of a better life. They became climate refugees – 90 years ago.
It looks both fascinating and evocative, another important looking, award-winning graphic novel coming from Europe to shine a light on a period of history often overlooked.
In researching Days of Sand, Aimée spent 10 days driving from Oklahoma, through the old Dust Bowl area, to California. During the trip, she stopped at museums and archives, to interview experts of the Dust Bowl and FSA history. A detailed travelogue of this trip is available in English on her blog.
Aimée de Jongh is an award-winning comics author and animator from the Netherlands. The Return of the Honey Buzzard, her first graphic novel, won the Prix Saint-Michel for best Dutch graphic novel and was made into a film in 2017. Subsequent books, Blossoms in Autumn and Taxi!, were translated worldwide and won awards in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, and Japan.
Days of Sand was originally published in France as Jours de Sable (Dargaud, 2021) selling over 40,000 copies.