An Age of License: A Travelogue by Lucy Knisley
(Fantagraphics, 2014, 195 pages)
I read Lucy Knisley’s graphic novel, Relish, a couple years ago and enjoyed her artistic style and story (it was food-focused – always a win for me) so I thought I’d look into more of her work. An Age of License was sitting on the shelf at the library so I grabbed it. It’s actually a follow-up to her graphic novel, French Milk. I haven’t had a chance to read that yet, but this book stands alone so I didn’t feel like I was missing anything.
An Age of License is a graphic retelling of the experiences Knisley had while traveling around Europe after the release of French Milk. She has just ended a long-term serious relationship and is dealing with that in addition to reflecting on her life and her career. She is able to meet up with her mom, who has taken a trip to France with some friends, and has a European romance that helps distract her from focusing too much on the questions of where her life is/should be going.
Interspersed throughout the book are more detailed, colored drawings which highlight Knisley’s artistic talent in a different way. These simultaneously enhance the story while offering a visual break. I’d be curious to hear the logic behind her decision to include these pieces the way she did.
I wasn’t necessarily wowed by this book, but I liked it overall. I’ll certainly be picking up French Milk. My next review will be of Knisley’s more recent title, Displacement.
If you like travelogues and enjoy graphic novels, this would probably be an enjoyable read for you.