August #Bookadayuk - Day 4

When the Wind Blows - Raymond Briggs



To be honest, my knowledge of graphic novels could be written on the back of a postage stamp, but I do remember when Raymond Briggs released When the Wind Blows in 1982.

He was more well known as a children’s writer and illustrator, with The Snowman being his most famous work, but When the Wind Blows was very, very different.

It's a political satire and tells the story of an elderly English couple and what happens to them after a nuclear attack. Knowing the attack is imminent, they stockpile food and build their own fall-out shelter, following advice given in the Government’s ‘Protect and Survive’ leaflet* they picked up in the library. After the blast, they settle themselves down in the shelter and wait for the newspaper to be delivered so they can read about what the Government will be doing to help them. And when they inevitably fall ill with radiation sickness, they go to bed and wait for the emergency services to arrive, because of course the Government has got everything under control hasn't it....? 

This heartbreaking and haunting book with its blackest of black humour, cutesy illustrations, and telling the most harrowing of tales, shouldn’t work, but it does.


* seriously, this thing existed.