Displacement: Lucy Knisley’s Newest Travelogue Offers a Heartfelt Examination of Responsibility and Aging
Once again, the wonderful folks at Fantagraphics have been kind enough to send me a couple of their new titles to review, one of which is yet another beautiful and emotionally moving travelogue by one of my favorite cartoonists, Lucy Knisley.
After her elderly grandparents sign up for a cruise they can’t handle on their own, Lucy offers to shepherd them on their 10-day excursion to the Caribbean. Faced with the realities of her grandparents’ fading health, plus the physical and mental stresses of caring for two nonagenarians, Lucy finds herself pitched into a period of intense doubt and frustration, while also trying to summon the patience and grace so desperately needed in times of distress.
Displacement is somewhat of a sister book to Knisley’s previous Fantagraphics release, An Age of License, both of them travelogues set only a few months apart. However, whereas her last story delved into themes of self-exploration, opportunity, and the freedom of youth, Displacement deals with the sobering realities of aging, personal isolation, familial responsibility, and the importance of memory both to the elderly and the people who love them.
Knisley’s illustrations are wonderfully candid and engaging, ranging between quick scenes rendered in near-miniature to detailed glimpses of her grandparents’ wizened faces. Accompanying her own internal narration are excerpts from her grandfather’s memoir of World War II, which not only highlights the vast changes a person can go through over the decades of their life, but also speaks to Lucy’s own connection with memoir and the ability of stories to transcend time and space.
Displacement hits shelves this month, and I am excited to announce that I will be interviewing Lucy Knisley live at her book release at The Strand Bookstore in Manhattan on January 12th from 7-8 PM, as well as hosting the Q&A session afterwards. Stop by if you’re in NYC.