Books: An Age of License and Displacement by Lucy Knisley
Genre: graphic travelogue
Publisher: Fantagraphics Books
Publication date: 2014 and 2015
Summary: An Age of License and Displacement follow in the vein of Lucy Knisley’s other books, especially French Milk, that was about a trip to France that Lucy took with her mother. Her most popular book, Relish, was more broad than just one trip but had many of the same themes — food, travel, family, friends, and self-reflection through words and pictures.
An Age of License is about a trip through Europe where Lucy thinks about who she is and who she wants to be and gives herself permission, a license, to be a little confused about those things as a 20-something traveler.
Displacement is about a cruise Lucy takes with her grandparents. More than the usual things go wrong, but Lucy is able to find connection with her elders in spite of the barriers.
Thoughts: These two books about two trips, a summer jaunt in Europe followed, a few months later, by a winter cruise in the Caribbean, make terrific companion reads. Displacement even refers to the trip in An Age of License, comparing and contrasting their different themes.
My favorite moment in An Age of License was when the guy she likes wonders how she can she be so revealing in her work. She worries about freaking him out with the thought that he’ll appear in one of her books. At the same time, she knows that writing and drawing memoir is her way of processing the stuff of life. I’ve had similar thoughts about my blog and other personal writing. I wanted to share with her what helped me. I realized that the product is a different entity than the experience was. It’s crafted and molded and something that isn’t quite reality, even when it purports to describe a real event. That’s just enough of a step away to create the distance required to maintain a sense of privacy even when the event actually happened.
Displacement had a special feature that really added some depth. Lucy quoted excerpts of her grandfather’s World War II memories, illustrating them in grays and browns and greens like old war photos.
Appeal: Travelers, especially, will enjoy these travelogues. The 20-something set will find an echo of their concerns and experiences. The rest of us can remember our own Age of License. Displacement has concerns about aging and dying that transcend the generation gaps.
Interview: Check out Lucy Knisley’s interview on Fresh Air from earlier this month about Displacement.
Have you read this book? What did you think?