Also of interest... in graphic nonfiction
The Best We Could Do
by Thi Bui (Abrams, $25)
Thi Bui, a former child refugee from Vietnam, has produced “one of the first great works of socially relevant comics art of the Trump era,” said Abraham Riesman in NYMag.com. Years in the making, Bui’s “visually stunning” memoir about her family’s uncertain journey to a new life in America zigzags across time as it weaves together the historical and political. Many times a single page or moment contains “more insight and empathy about the people of Vietnam than all of Apocalypse Now.”
Imagine Wanting Only This
by Kristen Radtke (Pantheon, $30)
Kristen Radtke’s remarkable debut is “one of the most haunting graphic memoirs I’ve ever read,” said Beth Kephart in the Chicago Tribune. It chronicles the author’s burgeoning obsession with ruins as she’s mourning a favorite relative, and the impulse sends her on quiet tours of empty streets and desolate buildings in Cambodia, Myanmar, and Gary, Ind. As a character, she is both vulnerable and audacious, “her unease growing ever more seductive with each unsystematic page.”
by Guy Delisle (Drawn & Quarterly, $30)
For three months in 1997, French aid worker Christophe André was imprisoned by Chechen kidnappers in a single dark room. “This is extremely challenging territory for a cartoonist, to say the least,” said Rachel Cooke in TheGuardian.com. But Guy Delisle is “one of the greatest cartoonists of our age,” and he’s turned André’s ordeal into a gripping visual narrative about a mind left alone to run on fear. “All this darkness and claustrophobia shouldn’t be exhilarating.” But it is.
Everything Is Flammable
by Gabrielle Bell (Uncivilized, $26)
Each page of Gabrielle Bell’s poignant memoir is composed of a six-panel grid that’s “as tidy as an ice-cube tray,” said Laurie Hertzel in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. But the emotions the story dramatizes are messy. Bell rushed to California after a fire there left her estranged mother homeless, only to learn that even playing hero isn’t a simple role. Past wounds are revisited, new roles tried on. “The overall sense is not of despair, but of hope.” From a fire’s ashes rises a stronger relationship.