Skip to main content
From sweet-seller to bodyguard


Judith Vanistendael & Mark Bellido

Miquel is a sweet-seller who lives the life of a bon viveur with his wife and two children in the beautiful south of Spain. Money is always a problem, though, and Miquel’s dream of becoming a writer also causes problems in the family. On New Year’s Day, he decides to make some big changes to his life. To write a new book, he needs a good story and he’s sure he’ll find it in the Basque Country, where bodyguards are urgently needed to protect local politicians from the Basque separatist group, ETA. Being a bodyguard, though, turns out not to be so much a job as a way of life: the uncertainty and the long working days destroy his family life, and fear permeates everything.

Mountain vistas and street-shaking explosions alike unfold in vibrant scrawls of color
Publishers Weekly

With its pure, sometimes garish pigments, ‘Mikel’ tells a true story, based on the experiences of the author, Mark Bellido. With her brilliant use of colour, Judith Vanistendael depicts the light of a wild and rainy Basque Country. Reconciling the aesthetic demands with the tense style of the narrative, she scratches at the page, smearing it with colours and shapes, with streaks and overlapping images, to compose sublime double pages that become etched on the memory.

A masterpiece of atmosphere and empathy, a must-have book of the year
Focus Vif