cover image Fat


Regina Hofer, trans. from the German by Natascha Hoffmeyer. Graphic Mundi, $17.50 trade paper (120p) ISBN 978-0-271-08807-5

Rendered in stark black-and-white and repetitive four-panel grids, Hofer’s extraordinary debut chronicles her dizzying descent into anorexia and bulimia. She opens with the admission that she still struggles with disordered eating: close-up depictions of her emaciated face from “two weeks ago” fill the first few pages, as if looking into the mirror of the reader (“I am hungry and I’m afraid to eat”). This confrontational open encapsulates the ruthlessly frank approach: Hofer explores the development of her disorder through examinations of her father’s violence, her own workaholism, and everyday sexual harassment. These observations are often paired with unexpected and abstract imagery—images of Buzz Lightyear toys, abstract lines, or a small fish float beneath descriptions of illness and anxiety. Her organic linework contrasts white and saturated black backgrounds, avoiding any gray in-between, and even portraits of dancers and flowers feel ghoulishly off-putting. Recalling the work of Ulli Lust, Hofer’s disorienting style envelops the reader in a constant, thrumming tension up to her tale’s abrupt close. Juxtaposing surreal imagery and unvarnished confessions, this intense work opens up the pain of living with an eating disorder, pairing artistic innovation with wrenching confessional. (Apr.)