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Making friends with Mansfield, Ashlee Nelson

Mansfield and Me: A Graphic Memoir
Sarah Laing
Victoria University Press, $35.00,
ISBN 9781776560691

The graphic form is in some ways a more complex undertaking than straightforward prose, for a graphic text must concern itself not only with the words of the narrative, but the art. Even more than this, the words and the art in a good graphic work should add to the meaning of the text by the way the two work skilfully together. In Mansfield and Me: A Graphic Memoir, both the words and the art belong to Sarah Laing. Laing is a writer, a cartoonist, and a graphic designer by trade and she has applied her skills to each in a uniquely beautiful way. Nor is this the only synthesis accomplished by the book: Mansfield and Me is both a biography, of sorts, of Mansfield, and an autobiographical narrative.

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Posted in Memoir, Non-fiction, Review

Short and not very sweet, Ashlee Nelson

Julie Hill
Giant Sparrow, $25.00,
ISBN 9780473284060

Michael Botur
Create Space, US$6.66,
ISBN 9781491226650

Julie Hill’s ShameJoy is very much a mixed bag in terms of quality, with some stories incoherent messes and others poignant and perceptive. The less pleasant aspects are found most pronouncedly in the earliest stories. These want to be funny, but also to seem as though they don’t care if you think them funny or not. They’re like the kid in class making annoying and disgusting jokes because occasionally they get a rise out of someone or hit the right note and get the laugh.

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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review, Short stories
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