cover image Displacement


Lucy Knisley. Fantagraphics, $19.99 ISBN 978-1-60699-810-6

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%E2%80%99s store. Not a seasoned caretaker, Lucy struggles with cleaning up her grandfather%E2%80%99s soiled pants and guarding her grandparents%E2%80%99 cabin door so they don%E2%80%99t wander off. She brings her grandfather%E2%80%99s World War II memoir along with her, and segments of the memoir are interspersed within the text, giving us a glimpse into her grandfather%E2%80%99s young life. His observations are insightful and detailed%E2%80%94even more could have been mixed into the book. Lucy%E2%80%99s 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%E2%80%99s experiences are a reminder of the fragility of age and fleeting nature of youth, but there%E2%80%99s no real knockout revelation here. (Feb.)