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Displacement Paperback – February 8, 2015

4.7 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“This is the struggle of caregivers all over the world, walking the fine line to balance their own needs and those of their charges, and Knisley gracefully investigates her own emotions and the aching sense of helplessness in the face of time and age. She does it without robbing herself or her grandparents of dignity or ignoring the depth of their love for one another. It’s a must read for anyone with aging family members, perfectly capturing the sense of loneliness and helping to lessen it at the same time.” (Caitlin Rosberg - The A.V. Club)

“In her fourth book, Lucy Knisley deftly conveys the frustration of managing her ailing 'grands' during a maritime excursion, inducing pangs of recognition in any reader who’s been around the decaying bodies and psyches of loved ones. What really sets the book apart, however, is Knisley’s sparing artwork: Her unhurried lines and gentle watercolors create a show-don’t-tell buffet of melancholy.” (Abraham Riesman - Vulture)

“This is going alongside A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again as required reading ahead of a cruise. Knisley celebrates the lives of her grandparents and grapples with her own mortality aboard the deck of a vacation cruise ship.” (Brian Heater - Tech Times)

“[Knisley's] art is terrific and getting even better. ...[H]er craft and heart keep this volume from turning into a bummer and a disaster like her trip.” (Richard Pachter - The Miami Herald)

“In this sensitive graphic memoir, …Knisley finds both the humor and the sadness in her grandparents’ condition while also pointing out the loneliness of being the only one responsible for caregiving and the frustration she feels for how the elderly are feared and ignored in modern America. ...Displacement is a timely and mature work that pairs perfectly with other elder-care titles, such as Roz Chast’s Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant?” (Snow Wildsmith - Booklist)

“A cruise with your elderly grandparents is probably not the most appealing prospect for a typical 20-something. But cartoonist Lucy Knisley turns this potentially joy-sapping experience into the funny and heartfelt graphic memoir Displacement. … There’s a sunniness to her sarcasm, even as she faces the reality of her grandparents’ declining health.” (Nora Krug - The Washington Post)

“Knisley volunteers to chaperone her ninety-year-old grandparents on their Caribbean cruise and ends up on another transformative journey, this time headlong into her fears about aging and death. I'm a fan of her work. ... Knisley moves rapidly between love, sorrow, and worry every day of the cruise.” (Sarah Hunt - Unshelved)

“...[T]he quality that’s made Knisley a great storyteller ― her ability to recall nuanced encounters with a blend of wit and compassion ― allows her to craft a compelling and complicated account of this time spent with her grandparents. ...[A] must-read...” (Tim O'Shea - Robot 6)

“Knisley's able to achieve an impressive balance between humor and poignancy, juxtaposing observations on the bizarre line-up of nighttime entertainment and the strangeness of her fellow passengers with thoughtful observations on aging and excerpts from her grandfather's World War II journals.” (Brian Heater - Paper)

“Knisley has a great eye for what makes travel fun: what’s different, what's delicious, cool museums, cute kitties, history, even the strange inconveniences.” (Gene Ambaum - Unshelved)

“Each of Lucy Knisley’s memoirs has been stronger than the last, and Displacement continues that rising arc. … As Roz Chast did with her parents in Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, Knisley paints a true portrait of old age, never denying the unpleasant realities of illness and dementia but never letting her grandparents dwindle to just that. ...Knisley pays tribute to them by telling their story as well as her own.” (Brigid Alverson - Robot 6)

“...[T]he book [transforms from] a chronicle of the humorous-in-retrospect hardships she faced into a sort of meditation on aging, of life as a whole thing incorporating past as well as present and Knisley’s family story. ... Despite the many travails she faced on her travels, it ends up being a pretty positive experience for all involved…including, of course, the reader.” (J. Caleb Mozzocco - Robot 6)

“Knisley is extraordinarily talented at journal comics, with clean-line, attractive figures and a good eye for summing up moments in scattered illustrations. … The overall message, that caretaking for others is an incredibly difficult, exhausting task, should not be surprising, but Knisley’s well-selected details brings it home in sympathetic pain, fatigue, and loneliness. It’s horrific but important.” (Johanna Draper Carlson - Comics Worth Reading)

About the Author

Lucy Knisley is a cartoonist and occasional puppeteer, ukulele player, and food/travel writer living in Chicago, IL. She is a graduate of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Center for Cartoon Studies.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics; 1 edition (February 8, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1606998102
  • ISBN-13: 978-1606998106
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.5 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #214,174 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Displacement is a followup to Lucy Knisley’s previous travelogue, An Age of License, but this time, instead of portraying a young woman starting her life, she tackles the end. She describes the difference like this: “That trip was about independence, sex, youth, and adventure. This trip is about patience, care, mortality, respect, sympathy, and love.”

Knisley accompanies her grandparents on a cruise for the elderly, and Displacement is her journal about taking care of them while they travel. In her introduction, she describes her feeling “loneliness … at hiding my own terror and heartbreak at my grandparents’ decline in health”. It’s something that will or is challenging many of us, and while the details can be scary, it’s reassuring to see others going through a similar struggle.

Knisley is in her late 20s, while her grandparents Phyllis and Allen are in their early 90s. They have issues with hearing and mobility, so she has mixed emotions about the trip — joy at the chance to spend more time with them, fear and frustration at what the details of taking care of them might involve. They’re both struggling with memory issues as well (the scariest aspect of getting older). Although Knisley has plenty of her own uncertainties, she feels driven to be the organized one in the face of her grands’ confusion at travel.

Like many adults, she doesn’t see them often enough to keep up with the details of their health. Instead, visiting every few years means they seem to have declined rapidly, since she’s comparing them with memories. At one point, she draws a looming monster labeled “the horror of age, infirmity, and death in a young person’s mind”, a perfect summation.
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Knisley is one of my favorite cartoonists, and I love that her travelogues have taken off. I remember first finding French Milk in my library’s graphic novel section and wondering what it was all about. Since then, I’ve followed all her work and own all her books. I preordered this book almost a year in advance, but when it finally arrived, I wasn’t able to read it due to my grandma’s decline and sudden death. It hit too close to home, unfortunately. Today, I preordered her next book, Something New: Tales from a Makeshift Bride, due to be released in May. That prompted me to finally read Displacement. What a treat it ended up being!

Lucy decides to accompany her 90-year-old grandparents on a Caribbean cruise. Getting from point A to point B is only the beginning of Lucy’s concerns, as her grandparents’ health has taken a drastic decline in the last five years. While on the ship, Lucy gets an eyeful of how difficult it can be to be a caregiver and see your loved ones’ health deteriorate. But it’s not all doom and gloom. Knisley’s grandfather is a WWII veteran and she expertly weaves in segments of his war memoir along with memories of her grandparents when they were younger.

She just keeps getting better and better! I hope she never stops drawing and writing. She takes periods of her life and creates a graphic scrapbook for the public to look in on. I wish I was that talented. Also, how amazing to create such vivid memories? If you haven’t yet read any of her graphic novels, you are in for a treat!
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Subset snippets from this 20-something's enthusiastic travel adventure with her grand(parent)s weave interesting, funny, heart-warming, whimsical and tres observational bittersweetness of life together. Wise-beyond-her-years-Lucy, rare human being. Superbly expressive both in her cartoons and often confessional concepts. Self-effacing. Self-aware. Glad a friend heard NPR author interview and shared. Will be reading more of Lucy The "K" is silent Knisley.

P. S. Her alma mater needs to add her to her wikipedia entry as notable alumni. Just saying'.
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A knowledgeable reflection on cruise travel.
The inter generational mix was delightful, representing the generation likes and
differences. A family caring for one another as they move through time.The pictorial representation
is easy on the eye and enhanced the the journey. The author Lucy Knisley did a wonderful job of letting
us into the world of family cruising. A quick read and thoughtful reflection.
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I read this graphic novel while on a cruise with an elderly relative. While my own experiences were much better, there was enough similarity to make me grimace while I laughed. Displacement is thoughtful, rueful, funny and heart wrenching, frequently all at once. It asks all the great questions about life and death and love and meaning, and is comfortable with a complete lack of pat answers. Lucy the heroine is spunky, temperamental and young, making me want to get to know, high five, and comfort the author simultaneously. Highly recommended.
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I am a huge fan and this book was just another wonderful drop in the Lucy Knisley bucket. Bittersweet and quite sad, but that is to be attributed to the subject matter and the gravity with which she handled it. Beautiful and not sugar coated. I truly enjoyed this book and it hit home for me after losing my grandparents this year (in their 90s).
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