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An Age Of License Paperback – September 22, 2014
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“Knisley is a good artist and entertaining storyteller, and her rather typical tale rises well above the mundane.”
- Richard Pachter, Miami Herald
“Knisley... continues to own the travelogue/graphic novel genre by bringing her characteristic humor and heart to this memoir of a summer in Europe. … The title comes from the French l’age licence -- the freedom to explore, experiment, and feel joy, all feelings beautifully captured here. [Starred Review]”
- Publishers Weekly
“…[T]he undertone [of An Age of License] is about learning to embrace periods of change to better understand the person you want to be. ... Knisley’s borderless pages and personal insights give the feeling of paging through someone’s drawn diary, and her delicate linework is lovely.”
- Johanna Draper Carlson, Wisconsin State Journal
“Lucy Knisley is one of the standout artist-writers of her generation, her storytelling assured and inviting. Her third book, An Age of License, picks up the themes of her first two books with increased sophistication. ... Further work from her pen can only enhance her fine reputation as an artist whose growth and exploits we delight to share.”
- Paul DiFilippo, Barnes & Noble Review
“Like the best travelogues, An Age of License shows you what it would be like to visit a place while reminding you that you can never have the same experience. If you liked her last book, Relish: My Life in the Kitchen, you should definitely check this out… This book is more thought-provoking than her other works, demonstrating growth and a challenge to readers to think about these things in their own lives.”
- Johanna Draper Carlson, Comics Worth Reading
“The cleverness here is how swiftly Knisley communicates everything... So much delivered so swiftly, so easily, Knisley’s chronicles always steering clear of both the sickeningly saccharin sweet and the angst-ridden. It nestles quite naturally in between, as light and as serious, as sad and as funny as real life often is.”
- Richard Bruton, Forbidden Planet International
“An Age of License… has an immediacy to it that makes it… compelling…. Knisley composes each page carefully, leading the eye through a series of little moments that add up to a real story. …[M]y guess is that she will simply continue to mature as an artist and writer. An Age of License is already evidence of that.”
- Brigid Alverson, Robot 6
“Knisley is a pleasurable picture-maker… and she engages directly with the issue of privilege as it pertains to her ability to take trips like this one.”
- Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
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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This book is a series of loosely connected events during Lucy's trip. She doesn't jump around randomly in telling where she is, but things aren't tightly woven together in the way any other more fictionalized graphic novel would be. An Age of License is more about the journey and the emotional spectrum of figuring out new things about yourself. Lucy's feelings about what is happening around her at the time, realizations about her life as a whole, and her personal relationships are explored in a very loose but satisfying manner here. A prime example of this is the fact Lucy doesn't delve supremely deeply on the hurt of her break up, but we know more than enough to sympathize with her plight. We understand how she's feeling about it and why she's genuinely conflicted on what the future will be like. How she's attracted to Henrik but still very much hung up on her ex (now husband amusingly enough) and is working her way through those feelings whilst basking in traveling.
The only con I have over all is my book arrived with very minor damage to the top of the book and spine. Primarily colors being scrapped off the binding and the top front cover of the comic having a bit of a weird dent to it. Nothing too bad.
I feel like Knisley and I are on personal terms, so I'll just call her "dear Lulu." At this point, I think I would buy just about any graphic novels she publishes from here on out. I have everything she's written thus far, and I guess that makes me a bonafide fan.
In An Age of License: A Travelogue, dear Lulu is at it again, and what she does best is capture her traveling adventures. In the style of French Milk, she documents a month long trip to Norway, Sweden, Germany, France, and Iceland. Along the way, she contemplates where her life is headed, is coping with a recent break-up and new love interest, and trying to figure out if she loves her career as a comic artist despite its meager compensation.
I love Lulu's illustrations, and I just love the way she thinks. She includes linear notes on footnotes, if that's even possible in comic form. Above all else, she is a true foodie, so she always allows panel space to highlight favorite dishes or must have snacks. I think I'm going to reread this tonight. I might have missed something.
The narrative is a familiar one -- a young American traveling around Europe soaking up new experiences and contemplating life -- but Knisley is not a shallow writer. The most compelling parts deal with Knisley's own thoughts on her luck and privilege in life and how that shapes her life and how she views the places she visits and the people she encounters. I have traveled alone and with company throughout my life -- I'm a decade older than Ms. Knisley -- and I identified with a lot of it.
Her watercolor paintings and full-color sketches of some scenes and portraits of her friends contrast nicely with the simple black-and-white style of the main narrative.