cover image Excuse Me: Cartoons, Complaints, and Notes to Self

Excuse Me: Cartoons, Complaints, and Notes to Self

Liana Finck. Random House, $20 (416p) ISBN 978-1-984801-51-7

Bringing her signature shaky sketch style to bear once again, Finck (Passing for Human) compiles more than 500 cartoons in this weird, often funny (but sometimes less-so) collection. Drawing on extensive New Yorker archives (as well as comics previously published on Instagram), Finck delivers biting commentary on structural misogyny, the 2016 election, and the foibles of interpersonal contact in the 21st century. Of course, no New Yorker mainstay escapes without obligatory “talking dog and their therapist” bits, and Finck obliges, alongside a few gags that riff somewhat toothlessly on nothing in particular (for example, a box of batteries reading “batteries not included!”). Finck is at her best when grappling with personal turmoil, though, and her higher-stakes soul-searching bits are chilling; though the “Notes to Self” section contains little of the expressionistic linework that carries so much emotion throughout the rest of the book. Finck’s spare prose and anxiety-ridden lists carry this collection to a tearful, bitterly relatable non-resolution. Finck’s brick of a gag collection will bring readers down with a grin. Agent: Meredith Kaffel Simonoff, DeFiore and Company. (Sept.)