Home > 2010, 21st Century, BD, Beach and Public Transports Books, Caro Fabrice, Comics, French Literature > Zaï Zaï Zaï Zaï by Fabcaro – Many a true word is said in jest

Zaï Zaï Zaï Zaï by Fabcaro – Many a true word is said in jest

Zaï Zaï Zaï Zaï. A roadmovie. by Fabcaro (2015) Not available in English

At the Bron Literary Festival I attended the interview of Fabrice Caro (Fabcaro is his nom de plume as a BD author) and laughed so much when I saw excerpts of his BD album Zaï Zaï Zaï Zaï that I rushed to buy it. I kept giggling, laughing, chuckling all along this short little gem.

A man –Fabcaro’s doppelgangler—is at the checkout in a supermarket when the cashier requests his loyalty card. He doesn’t have it. He tries to explain that he left it in his other pants but he’s taken by security as if he were a thief. He bolts out of the store and is now on the run. The reader sees both his travels and how society responds to this news.

We see him hitchhike, call home to tell his wife and daughters where he is…He decides to go and hide in Lozère because he imagines that it’s so isolated that they don’t have TV or radio. It’s a reference to American road movies and it become ridiculous in France because we don’t have the American wilderness as a dramatic effect. No. We only have country roads and small villages.

In parallel to the man’s run, we see the circus in the country and how society is carried away by such a tiny event. Perfectly coiffed reporters are sent on location and have nothing to report to their news channel and still talk endlessly. The authorities have to deploy police forces or they’d be considered as inefficient. Artists have their say and create a temporary group to write and sing a charity single. TV channels organize talk shows to discuss the pros and cons of having one’s loyalty card.

We also see the reaction of the man in the street: hasty condemnations in what we call “conversation de bistrot”, which would probably be “bar talk” in English. Mothers who won’t let their kid go out because a criminal is on the run…People who want to deport this BD author to where he belongs…Brussels.

The root of the whole thing is absurd and the absurdity of it all is hilarious. Of course, in real life, forgetting one’s loyalty card doesn’t engender all these extreme reactions. Fabcaro said it was an image for identity papers. It’s a way to show the life of a clandestine and how easy a regular person can become one. See what happened in the UK in the last two years with migrants from the 1950s who were in the Empire at the time and didn’t need papers, who settled in Britain, never knew they needed papers and were suddenly denied a passport and swept away in all kinds of administrative nightmares.

Choosing a loyalty card is also spot on because our Western societies try to make us believe that we are what we consume and that if we are not a consumer, we do not exist. Loyalty cards are your ID as a consumer. And identity papers define you and prove your existence.

This is why Zaï Zaï Zaï Zaï is the perfect illustration of the saying Many a true word is said in jest.

The absurd and hilarious ending explains the title of the album. Zaï Zaï Zaï is a gimmick in the popular oldy song Siffler sur la colline by Joe Dassin. It’s available on Youtube for curious readers. It’s also the lyrics told by Jean-Pierre Bacri in the film On connaît la chanson.

Now, I can’t wait to read Caro’s novel, Le discours. I’ve heard it’s a lot of fun too.

  1. April 14, 2019 at 10:40 am

    LOL The only loyalty cards I have are the ones where you don’t actually have a card. Increasingly there are shops that simply store your name and purchases and when you are eligible for a cash reward, they let you know. My favourite bookshop does this, so does the shop where I buy dog food and also a kitchen supplies shop.


    • April 16, 2019 at 1:40 pm

      We have those too but not at the supermarket.
      Other shops have your name in the computer. There’s an app to digitalize and store all these loyalty cards too.


      • April 16, 2019 at 10:23 pm

        Yes, LOL there’s always “an app for that” these days!


        • April 20, 2019 at 6:21 pm

          Yes, I’ve seen there’s even an app to take the collection in Catholic churches, in case you don’t have change. (!)

          Liked by 1 person

  2. April 15, 2019 at 10:36 am

    My bookshop annoys me by recording what I order in but not what I buy, so they have no idea how much I spend there. I want some loyalty from them! As for ID cards, we (Australia) pretend not to have them, but then are forced to produce them almost daily.


    • April 16, 2019 at 1:42 pm

      Clever bookshop! They get only the data they want.

      I’ve seen that in some area, you need an ID to buy beer. (and not to prove you’re over 18)


  3. April 15, 2019 at 10:37 am

    … but then are forced to produce our drivers licence …


    • April 16, 2019 at 1:43 pm

      Here the driver licence is an ID but people usually have a carte d’identité and use it first.


  1. May 1, 2019 at 10:06 pm
  2. December 15, 2019 at 9:23 am
  3. January 19, 2020 at 12:48 pm

I love to hear your thoughts, thanks for commenting. Comments in French are welcome

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: