cover image Men I Trust

Men I Trust

Tommi Parrish. Fantagraphics, $34.99 (208p) ISBN 978-1-68396-650-0

Lambda Award–winner Parrish (The Lie and How We Told It) delivers an unflinching examination of two women as they tentatively form a friendship while coping with messy personal circumstances. Thirty-something Eliza is a weary but loving single mother of a young boy, eking out a living and performing her poetry in local venues. She is also five years sober and attends AA meetings. Voluble 20-something Sasha is living with her parents in middle-class comfort “until I get back on my feet” and dabbles in sex work, most notably with an older man named Andrew. After Sasha attends one of Eliza’s performances, she’s smitten, and pursues Eliza hard, lending support and a sympathetic ear to Eliza’s problems. Initially guarded, Eliza warms to Sasha’s attentions, while becoming increasingly wary of Sasha’s neediness (Sasha tells her “I’m just constantly searching for someone to be with me”). Eventually the tense push-pull of their dynamic reaches a critical breaking point when Eliza uneasily agrees to accompany Sasha on a date with Andrew for extra cash. Parrish’s gift for nuanced characterizations and dialogue juxtapose with their distinctive, highly stylized art, in which characters sport exaggeratedly bulky, awkward bodies and small heads. This humane, insightful tale should further burnish Parrish’s reputation as a first-rate artist and storyteller. (Nov.)