What It Is by Lynda Barry

What It Is
by Lynda Barry
Jonathan Cape, 2009

Cartoonist Lynda Barry has been writing with unsentimental perception about her (sometimes traumatic) childhood for her entire career. This handsome hardback is a British edition of a Drawn & Quarterly book derived from Barry’s creative process workshop, and is an unusual mixture of autobiography (drawn on a lined yellow pad), an extended rumination on the nature of creativity and images, and a series of writing exercises. Many of the pages are intricate collages of newspaper headlines, text from old schoolbooks, and handwritten fragments from children. At the end there’s a notebook of work produced during the creation of the book. It’s an odd but compelling collection, recommended for anyone who is a fan of Barry’s Marlys comic strip or her striking One! Hundred! Demons! book.

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