wrongtrainrighttime: (Default)
Wrong Train, Right Time ([personal profile] wrongtrainrighttime) wrote2017-02-12 04:28 pm

Relish and An Age of License by Lucy Knisley (2 for 1 review)

Knisley, Lucy. Relish: My Life in the Kitchen. First Second Books, 2013. Finished 2/12/2017.

---. An Age of License: A Travelogue. Fantagraphics Books, 2014. Finished 2/12/2017.

Two for one this time, since I don't have enough to say about both to give 'em each their own post. (And also read them back to back.

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen jumps back and forth through a series of vignettes, focused around Knisley's life-long relationship with food. Good food, happy eating. It's also a thoughtful look at how her parents' love of good eating have influenced her approach to food, but also how her own perspective on food has evolved and changed to something idiosyncratic and personal. I find such anecdotes to be really fascinating, perhaps because I'm still trying to figure out how I feel about this meatbag necessity we call eating, and it's more subjective adulting necessity called cooking. Also comes with a few beautifully illustrated recipes, as expected from a food-focused memoir.

An Age of License: A Travelogue is focused on a single trip to Europe that Knisley took in her mid-twenties, one part work, one part recreation. It's more melancholy, I think perhaps the novel is Knisley grappling with what it means to be in her mid-twenties. That second growing-up that happens when you're supposed to be an adult but have no idea what becoming an adult is supposed to be like. It gave me stuff to chew over, not universal truths exactly, but a different perspective on struggles that are relevant to me. Like Knisley in this book, I am also in my mid-late twenties and facing down the future. The struggles she faces are familiar to me.

Both these graphic novels are beautiful. Autobio is Knisley's thing and it shows: she approaches the work of mining her own memories, thoughts, growth, and reactions for a story with the care of someone for whom this is a calling. Her art is lovely, clean and careful lines, expressive figures, loving attention to detail in the food and architecture. It's a perfect match for her contemplative monologue as she charts and shares the progress of her life. Her voice is open and thoughtful as she reflects on her past. I'm very glad to have the chance to read her life in these books, and I'd really like to read her other memoirs. They're going on my wishlist.

Oddly enough, Relish also made me want to revisit another food-related memoir that I'd read a while ago: Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl. Time, I think, to look it up.