Displacement

Displacement

by Lucy Knisley
     
 

In the latest volume of her graphic travelogue series, New York Times-best selling cartoonist Lucy Knisley must care for her grandparents on a cruise.
In her graphic memoirs, New York Times-best selling cartoonist Lucy Knisley paints a warts-and-all portrait of contemporary, twentysomething womanhood, like writer Lena Dunham (Girls). In the next installment of her…  See more details below

Overview

In the latest volume of her graphic travelogue series, New York Times-best selling cartoonist Lucy Knisley must care for her grandparents on a cruise.
In her graphic memoirs, New York Times-best selling cartoonist Lucy Knisley paints a warts-and-all portrait of contemporary, twentysomething womanhood, like writer Lena Dunham (Girls). In the next installment of her graphic travelogue series, Displacement, Knisley volunteers to watch over her ailing grandparents on a cruise. (The book’s watercolors evoke the ocean that surrounds them.) In a book that is part graphic memoir, part travelogue, and part family history, Knisley not only tries to connect with her grandparents, but to reconcile their younger and older selves. She is aided in her quest by her grandfather’s WWII memoir, which is excerpted. Readers will identify with Knisley’s frustration, her fears, her compassion, and her attempts to come to terms with mortality, as she copes with the stress of travel complicated by her grandparents’ frailty.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
12/15/2014
After her acclaimed travelogues French Milk and An Age of License, Knisley returns with a new travel memoir, this one focusing on duty rather than adventure. Lucy accompanies her aging grandparents on a Caribbean cruise. She ends up dealing with more than she expected, however, as her grandparents are no longer very mobile and have high demands on her attention. Her grandmother is dipping into dementia, packing numerous toothbrushes and combs, and insisting on buying even more at the ship’s store. Not a seasoned caretaker, Lucy struggles with cleaning up her grandfather’s soiled pants and guarding her grandparents’ cabin door so they don’t wander off. She brings her grandfather’s World War II memoir along with her, and segments of the memoir are interspersed within the text, giving us a glimpse into her grandfather’s young life. His observations are insightful and detailed—even more could have been mixed into the book. Lucy’s own private journey about being confused, lost, and lonely for love at her stage of life is balanced with the humorous mishaps and heartbreaking deterioration of her grandparents, all told with a mix of comics, illustrations without text, and hand-lettered journal entries. Knisley’s experiences are a reminder of the fragility of age and fleeting nature of youth, but there’s no real knockout revelation here. (Feb.)
Johanna Draper Carlson - Comics Worth Reading
“Knisley is extraordinarily talented at journal comics, with clean-line, attractive figures and a good eye for summing up moments in scattered illustrations. … The overall message, that caretaking for others is an incredibly difficult, exhausting task, should not be surprising, but Knisley’s well-selected details brings it home in sympathetic pain, fatigue, and loneliness. It’s horrific but important.”
Richard Pachter - The Miami Herald
“[Knisley's] art is terrific and getting even better. ...[H]er craft and heart keep this volume from turning into a bummer and a disaster like her trip.”
Snow Wildsmith - Booklist
“In this sensitive graphic memoir, …Knisley finds both the humor and the sadness in her grandparents’ condition while also pointing out the loneliness of being the only one responsible for caregiving and the frustration she feels for how the elderly are feared and ignored in modern America. ...Displacement is a timely and mature work that pairs perfectly with other elder-care titles, such as Roz Chast’s Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant?”
Nora Krug - The Washington Post
“A cruise with your elderly grandparents is probably not the most appealing prospect for a typical 20-something. But cartoonist Lucy Knisley turns this potentially joy-sapping experience into the funny and heartfelt graphic memoir Displacement. … There’s a sunniness to her sarcasm, even as she faces the reality of her grandparents’ declining health.”
Brian Heater - Paper
“Knisley's able to achieve an impressive balance between humor and poignancy, juxtaposing observations on the bizarre line-up of nighttime entertainment and the strangeness of her fellow passengers with thoughtful observations on aging and excerpts from her grandfather's World War II journals.”
Brigid Alverson - Robot 6
“Each of Lucy Knisley’s memoirs has been stronger than the last, and Displacement continues that rising arc. … As Roz Chast did with her parents in Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, Knisley paints a true portrait of old age, never denying the unpleasant realities of illness and dementia but never letting her grandparents dwindle to just that. ...Knisley pays tribute to them by telling their story as well as her own.”
J. Caleb Mozzocco - Robot 6
“...[T]he book [transforms from] a chronicle of the humorous-in-retrospect hardships she faced into a sort of meditation on aging, of life as a whole thing incorporating past as well as present and Knisley’s family story. ... Despite the many travails she faced on her travels, it ends up being a pretty positive experience for all involved…including, of course, the reader.”
Gene Ambaum - Unshelved
“Knisley has a great eye for what makes travel fun: what’s different, what's delicious, cool museums, cute kitties, history, even the strange inconveniences.”
Tim O'Shea - Robot 6
“...[T]he quality that’s madeKnisley a great storyteller — her ability to recall nuancedencounterswith a blend of wit and compassion — allows her to craft a compelling and complicated account of this time spent with her grandparents. ...[A] must-read...”
Sarah Hunt - Unshelved
“Knisley volunteers to chaperone her ninety-year-old grandparents on their Caribbean cruise and ends up on another transformative journey, this time headlong into her fears about aging and death.I'm a fan ofher work. ... Knisley moves rapidly between love, sorrow, and worry every day of the cruise.”
Brian Heater - Tech Times
“This is going alongside A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again as required reading ahead of a cruise. Knisley celebrates the lives of her grandparents and grapples with her own mortality aboard the deck of a vacation cruise ship.”
Caitlin Rosberg - The A.V. Club
“This is the struggle of caregivers all over the world, walking the fine line to balance their own needs and those of their charges, and Knisley gracefully investigates her own emotions and the aching sense of helplessness in the face of time and age. She does it without robbing herself or her grandparents of dignity or ignoring the depth of their love for one another. It’s a must read for anyone with aging family members, perfectly capturing the sense of loneliness and helping to lessen it at the same time.”
Abraham Riesman - Vulture
“In her fourth book, Lucy Knisley deftly conveys the frustration of managing her ailing 'grands' during a maritime excursion, inducing pangs of recognition in any reader who’s been around the decaying bodies and psyches of loved ones. What really sets the book apart, however, is Knisley’s sparing artwork: Her unhurried lines and gentle watercolors create a show-don’t-tell buffet of melancholy.”
Library Journal
03/15/2015
"Displacement," often meaning the water pushed aside by a boat's hull, here alludes to lives pushed aside by aging and senescence, as well as a traveler's dislocation. When her beloved ninetysomething grandparents sign up for a cruise, twentysomething Knisley (Relish; An Age of License) signs on as caretaker. The sobering and eye-opening experience includes washing the "accidents" out of grandfather's pants, keeping her dementia-stricken grandmother on track, coordinating multiple medications, and shepherding the pair through complicated routines such as airport security. Although feeling overwhelmed and hiding her terror and heartbreak, Knisley admires the couple's spunk and determines to give them a good time despite their limitations and the simpleminded shipboard entertainments. Her limpid watercolors convey the tropical light, undulating ocean, and superficial gaiety of cruise ambiance, serving as ironic counterpoint to the gravity of her responsibilities and emotions. In one panel, a nasty toothed gremlin representing the horror of infirmity and death sits on her shoulder. VERDICT This poignant, sensitive account stresses the importance of connections throughout life's entire journey. Knisley's contemporaries who have enjoyed her other memoirs will learn much from this one.—M.C.
Kirkus Reviews
2014-11-18
A 20-something cartoonist with a unique sense of humor sets off on a cruise to the Caribbean with her nonagenarian grandparents.In this follow-up to her graphic memoir An Age of License (2014), the talented Knisley offers a pointed juxtaposition to her earlier travelogue set in Europe. When her grandparents Phyllis and Allen decided to take a cruise ship to the Caribbean, the author (recovering from a recent breakup) accompanied them on the 10-day journey. And she worried—a lot. Among Knisley's concerns were her grandparents' progressive dementia, their physical limitations, the potential for norovirus ("puking/pooping virus"), her own insomnia and anxiety, and the virulent rudeness of the thousands of other passengers. "This is not at all like my last trip," writes the author. "I traveled around Europe on my own, drinking wine, learning languages, and having a passionate love affair. That trip was about independence, sex, youth, and adventure. This trip is about patience, care, mortality, respect, sympathy and love." In between her amusing drawings depicting life on the ship and the strange comedy that came with taking care of her elders, Knisley offers excerpts from her grandfather's World War II memoir. This inclusion lends the book an interesting contrast between her grandparents' worldview when they were her age and Knisley's frenetic, impatient, all-too-busy inner self. It's also worth noting that the narrative storytelling is delightful, combining easy-to-follow layouts with the artist's unique visual style, vivid watercolors and quirky sense of humor. The result is an impressive high-wire act that balances observational humor and a highly tuned sense of self with a moving portrait of the ways compassion can affect even the most self-aware among us. Knisley says these books lock into place a certain time in her memory. Readers are fortunate she brought her notebooks with her on these unusual journeys. A moving but also very funny meditation on time, age and grace.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781606998106
Publisher:
Fantagraphics Books
Publication date:
02/08/2015
Pages:
168
Sales rank:
478,474
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 7.40(h) x 0.60(d)

Meet the Author

Lucy Knisley is a cartoonist and occasional puppeteer, ukulele player, and food/travel writer living in Chicago, IL. She is a graduate of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and
Center for Cartoon Studies.

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