Cover image for Passing for human : a graphic memoir
Title:
Passing for human : a graphic memoir
Author:
Finck, Liana, author, illustrator.
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Random House, [2018]

©2018
Physical Description:
222 pages : chiefly illustrations (some color) ; 24 cm
Summary:
"Passing for Human is what Finck calls 'a neurological coming-of-age story, one in which, through her childhood, human connection proved elusive and her most enduring relationships were with plants and rocks and imaginary friends; in which her mother was an artist whose creative life had been stifled by an unhappy first marriage and a deeply sexist society that seemed expressly designed to snuff out creativity in women; in which her father was a doctor who struggled in secret with the guilt of having passed his own form of otherness on to his daughter; and in which, as an adult, Finck finally finds her shadow again, and, with it, her true self."--Inside dust jacket.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780525508922
Format :
Book

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PN6727.F4943 Z46 2018 Graphic Novel New Materials
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On Order

Library
Copy
Status
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Clarence Library1Received on 3/14/19
Leroy R. Coles, Jr. Branch Library1Received on 3/14/19
Kenmore Library1Received on 3/14/19

Summary

Summary

A visually arresting graphic memoir about a young artist struggling against what 's expected of her as a woman, and learning to accept her true self, from an acclaimed New Yorker cartoonist.

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE GUARDIAN AND REFINERY29

In this achingly beautiful graphic memoir, Liana Finck goes in search of that thing she has lost--her shadow, she calls it, but one might also think of it as the "otherness" or "strangeness" that has defined her since birth, that part of her that has always made her feel as though she is living in exile from the world. In Passing for Human , Finck is on a quest for self-understanding and self-acceptance, and along the way she seeks to answer some eternal questions: What makes us whole? What parts of ourselves do we hide or ignore or chase away--because they're embarrassing, or inconvenient, or just plain weird--and at what cost?

Passing for Human is what Finck calls "a neurological coming-of-age story"--one in which, through her childhood, human connection proved elusive and her most enduring relationships were with plants and rocks and imaginary friends; in which her mother was an artist whose creative life had been stifled by an unhappy first marriage and a deeply sexist society that seemed expressly designed to snuff out creativity in women; in which her father was a doctor who struggled in secret with the guilt of having passed his own form of otherness on to his daughter; and in which, as an adult, Finck finally finds her shadow again--and, with it, her true self.

Melancholy and funny, personal and surreal, Passing for Human is a profound exploration of identity by one of the most talented young comic artists working today. Part magical odyssey, part feminist creation myth, this memoir is, most of all, an extraordinary, moving meditation on what it means to be an artist and a woman grappling with the desire to pass for human.

Praise for Passing for Human

"In its ambition, framing, and multiple layers, [ Passing for Human ] raises the bar for graphic narrative. Even fans of [Liana Finck's] work in the New Yorker will be blindsided by this outstanding book." -- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"A sure hit for readers of graphic memoirs, this explores feeling different while recognizing sameness in others and making art while embracing being a work-in progress oneself." --Annie Bostrom, Booklist

"This story is as tender as it is wry. . . . Becoming human is a lifelong task--but Finck illustrates it with humor and panache." -- Publishers Weekly


Author Notes

Liana Finck is a regular contributor to The New Yorker, The Awl, and Catapult . She is a recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, and a Six Points Fellowship for Emerging Jewish Artists. She has had artist residencies with the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and Tablet magazine. Her first book, A Bintel Brief, was published in 2014.


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

For her imaginative coming-of-age memoir, graphic novelist and New Yorker cartoonist Finck (A Bintel Brief, 2014) has changed some names, including her own. Starting anew, with a brand-new title page several times throughout the book, Leola wonders what story to tell and how best to tell it. Early on, she introduces the concept of her shadow, a companion who guided her before disappearing when she was a preteen. Should she begin with her mother, who taught her daughter the benefits of shadow-companionship, or her father, who passed his unique weirdness directly on to her? Finck takes full advantage of the format. Her narration, in wavery all-caps, propels her memoir as her shaky, light line drawings, sometimes simplified to near abstraction, translate another, otherwise untranslatable dimension of her story. She gathers biblical history and elements of fantasy (those shadows included) into the fold, too, and yet manages a restrained style overall. A sure hit for readers of graphic memoirs, this explores feeling different while recognizing sameness in others and making art while embracing being a work-in-progress oneself.--Annie Bostrom Copyright 2018 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

Alienation is both blessing and curse in this elegant graphic memoir of being the odd woman out. Leola's family has always been strange-quiet, anxious, prone to dreaming. Though this propelled her parents into successful careers as an architect and a doctor, Leola wears her oddity like a ball and chain. She shies away from other children and finds herself exiled from classroom hierarchies. In metanarrative interludes, Leola even restarts the book itself, plagued with doubt over its quality. But as she discovers, being different doesn't just drive you away from others-it can lead you to authenticity, as well. Finck intertwines her jittery, dense line work with fairy tale whimsy: sentient shadows climb in through windows, anxieties are literal rats that nibble at her as she works, God is a queen on a cloud who presides over an Edenic stage set. Though a lesser artist might have leaned on such magical realism as a crutch, Finck's whimsy acts as a microscope to better understand family, romance, and isolation. This story is as tender as it is wry, depicting, for instance, despair with goofy drawings of robots and princesses. Becoming human is a lifelong task-but Finck illustrates it with humor and panache. Agent: Meredith Kaffel Simonoff, DeFiore and Co. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

While the author herself would not necessarily call this story a hero's journey, this part bildungsroman, part epic poem describes the emotional and physical quest of New Yorker columnist/cartoonist Finck (A Bintel Brief: Love and Longing in Old New York) and generations of her family as they grapple with their individual beauty, creativity, and melancholy through the lens of a creation myth. Expanding her typical two-color illustration style to three-black, white, and a stunningly brilliant and graceful yellow-Finck conveys an honest meditation of her own strangeness, the beginnings of humans and the world, artistry, and intimacy with others. Readers may feel almost invasive as they bear witness to her exploration of her most vulnerable corners and pockets and those of her family, but that is her plan. She is the hero of this work on discovering selfhood-but in a deeply human way. VERDICT This creative and cerebral memoir, both in narrative and artwork, will appeal to similarly minded readers and fans of illustrator Maira Kalman. [Previewed in Jody Osicki's "Graphically Speaking," LJ 6/15/18.]-Cassidy Charles, Santa Barbara P.L., CA © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.