nonfiction

Poetry is Useless

Poetry is Useless

Anders Nilsen is a graphic artist and novelist, but this collection of sketchbooks doesn’t qualify as a traditional comic book in the strictest sense. There is most definitely sequential art; there are pictures, and there are sometimes panels that feature…

An Age of License

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In Age of License, author/artist Lucy Knisley explores a more introspective, intimate territory than some of her previous works. Family relationships are a major theme in books such as Relish, French Milk, and Displacement. In the case of An Age…

Photobooth: A Biography

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How many of us remember the photo booths that dotted the urban landscape of the fairly recent past? How many of us think about them with nostalgia, sometimes remembering group photographs sprinkled with laughter, grotesque facial expressions, or memories of…

The Story of My Tits

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The Story of My Tits is not a sexy expose of massive and masterful boobage, but rather a fond requiem for a womanly bosom lost to the all-too-common scourge of breast cancer. But happily, it is also a memoir of…

The Parish: An AmeriCorps Story

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In response to the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina and the drama of rebuilding New Orleans after the levees broke, artists of all mediums gave voice to profound personal stories, political dramas, horrible injustices, and moving redemptions. Katrina has been the…

The Realist

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Where do the personal and political collide? For Asaf Hanuka, raising a family in Tel Aviv with his Arab-Jewish background, married to a woman of Polish-Jewish origin whose father was killed by terrorists, the answer is at nearly every turn.…

The Hospital Suite

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I’ve hesitated to write a review of John Porcellino’s The Hospital Suite because his work almost always leaves me at a loss for words. It’s not because it’s hugely dramatic or intricate or complex. Rather, it’s the opposite. Simple, understated,…

Displacement: A Travelogue

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I must start my review by saying that Lucy Knisley’s graphic memoirs (French Milk, Relish, etc.) frustrate me—I know that she is more or less my contemporary in age (early millennial), predilections (delicious foods! Francophilia!), and social class (lower-upper-middle perhaps?).…

The Late Child and Other Animals

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  The Late Child and Other Animals is an intriguing beast: a personal memoir of Marguerite Van Cook’s post-war British childhood that reads like lush fiction, segmented into seemingly unrelated stories that drift in and out of sharp focus. There’s…

Beauty

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With a heroine bearing an uncanny resemblance to Snow White and a story peopled with buffoons, tyrants, and mischievous fairies, Beauty begs comparison, at least visually, to a Disney Princess film. But alternatively, it’s just about the farthest thing from…

47 Ronin

47 Ronin

The tale of the 47 Ronin has been enshrined in the Japanese cultural canon and will forever be regarded as the principal exemplar of the definition of honor, dignity, and bushido. These 47 loyal retainers, who risked lives and livelihoods…