cover image The Contradictions

The Contradictions

Sophie Yanow. Drawn & Quarterly, $24.95 trade paper (200p) ISBN 978-1-77046-407-0

Yanow (War of Streets and Houses) captures with wit and insight the conflicts inherent in being young and remaining idealistic in her Eisner Award–winning autofiction. A queer 20-year-old, Yanow starts off her college foreign exchange program in Paris waiting for life to get exciting: “So far I felt I had few stories worth telling.... If something was going to change, surely this was the place for it.” Financially strapped and unsure of herself, she befriends a woman named Zena, who introduces her to anarchist ideals such as veganism, squatting, worker-owned cooperatives—and shoplifting. The pair then embark on a spring break road trip, hitchhiking through Amsterdam, Ghent, and Berlin. Though Yanow initially admires Zena and tries to emulate her, including going “vegan for the trip, like in solidarity,” tensions soon arise, as Yanow realizes that walking their idealistic talk trips up on complicated realities. Yanow’s invigorating clear-line cartooning, which recalls Otto Soglow, matches perfectly with her deadpan, observational storytelling. Her angular, long-limbed characters bound about from minimalist white-space panels to carefully detailed European cityscapes. Appealing both to indie comics fans on the cusp of coming-of-age to those looking back decades to their own youthful follies, this assured, smart chronicle is a winner. (Sept.)