cover image Rosalie Lightning: A Graphic Memoir

Rosalie Lightning: A Graphic Memoir

Tom Hart. St. Martin’s, $19.9 (272p) ISBN 978-1-250-04994-0

Hart (Hutch Owen) pulls poetry from pain in this tremendous book. Chronicling his memories of the life and death of his daughter, the eponymous Rosalie (who died at age two), Hart refuses to fall into the easy clichés of loss. The darkest depths are plumbed, from the overwhelming powerlessness of the experience to the absurdity of life going on in spite of it. Visually, Hart employs a choppily inked mixture of styles that recall the childlike simplicity of Peanuts as readily as midcentury horror work. The result captures young Rosalie’s wonder and beauty, and the hole she left behind. What catapults this graphic novel into greatness, however, is its honesty. Hart delves into details other creators might have excised—Rosalie’s favorite phrases, the odd thoughts one fixates on in the midst of catastrophe—and it is this candor that will likely leave many readers in tears. Rosalie Lightning is a masterpiece—and a luminous tribute to a brief, beautiful life. Agent: Meg Thompson, Einstein Thompson Agency (Jan.)