Review by Frank Plowright
Big Scoop of Ice Cream isn’t an easy book to describe as Conxita Herrero Delfa presents a selection of short stories raising questions rather than answering them. In essence they follow the life of a young woman in artistically experimental stages as she goes through routine procedures and engages in mundane conversations. We learn how she acquired her couch, where her last boyfriend now is, and in the opening story of her determination to watch a pot boil.
The stories are fragmentary, ethereal and deliberately distanced. There are times when they seem allegorical, but Delfa frustrates in ‘Ghosts’ by moving the viewpoint away from the woman being visited by a ghost, and instead supplies a few pages of her cat leaving the room and wandering around the house. Why are there large blocks of disconnected text, each featuring almost as many words as in the next five stories? Is there a point to the characters missing eyes? Is it to encourage readers to look more closely? Ultimately, there seems little more to find. Big Scoop of Ice Cream is what it is, a series of whimsical takes on everyday experiences.
It’s the art that’s the major interest, always bright and changing from strip to strip. It’s most often two-dimensional, but always experimental. The penultimate strip is black lines on orange, the title strip blue and pink lines on white with a yellowy orange filling, and it even alternates the letters between blue and pink. Panels are rammed together with no separation, almost cubist features can occur, and in places the page design dictates the art. It’s all visually stimulating.
If only the content matched the art. It takes the back cover blurb to note Delfa’s tales are autobiographical, but the result is surely the opposite of the intention. They present Delfa as someone with very little to say, but an interesting manner of saying it.