BOOKS ONLINE Rosalie Lightning A Graphic Memoir by Tom Hart –

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I expected to be emotionally destroyed by this book but I did not expect to be so impressed by its formal ualities that halfway through I almost forgot to wallow in second hand grief and instead luxuriated in the beautiful simplicity and technical accomplishment of the visual choices Tom Hart s always been a cartoonist s cartoonist a Zen trickster who can wring a surprising amount of meaning out of rhythm and scribble only they re not really two different things they re scribble in rhythm the foundational element on which all the rest of the comics medium has been built But the degree to which his graphic vocabulary has become infinitely sophisticated even as he sticks to the simplified grammar of old school minicomics caught me unpreparedThe book is a memoir of a relatively short period in his and his wife s cartoonist Leela Corman life the months leading up to and the year following the death of their two year old daughter in 2011 It s also necessarily a sort of catalog of the art music film literature painting and naturally comics that they encounter or turn to in the process of remembering and grieving If that doesn t sound like something you want to read I guess I can understand that but what could easily be either numbingly maudlin or gracelessly self involved in the hands of other even other very great cartoonists is handled with such exceptional deftness honesty and patience by Hart that it feels much like a complete work of art than like the visually uninspired self conscious slog that comics memoir has come to mean in the last decade or soTo some degree this can perhaps be attributed to the Asian influences in Hart s philosophy and importantly craft I don t think I ve seen a successful synthesis of US and Japanese approaches to comics ever and I couldn t uite shake the feeling which began growing on me about halfway through that it represents a turning point in the medium itself The choppy ragged line used for most of the book is descended from Gary Panter it s a change from the cuddly crude style Hart became nown for some fifteen years ago used in this book to depict the past cartoons dreams and a recurrent metaphor and his narrating rhythms are the standard indie autobio Pekar via Schulz rhythms that Chester Brown popularized in the 80s but the contemplative unhurried panel layouts the use of abstraction to represent emotion and the lush grayscale tones giving the images weight and body are all pure mangaI very much doubt I m going to read a better comic this year I almost certainly won t read a emotionally affecting one Because of course I was as expected emotionally destroyed by this book I was also most unexpectedly and indefinably healed by it In November 2011 Rosalie the daughter of cartoonists Tom Hart and Leela Corman died suddenly before the age of two Rosalie Lightning is Hart s beautiful elegiac tribute to her short life an account of the months surrounding the terrible event In fragmented poetic fashion he sifts through the rubble of devastating grief looking for answers searching for solace and finding little Your best memories are your biggest torments Eventually he reaches a sort of shaky peace and moves slowly forward Hart a veteran cartoonist who currently runs the Seuential Artist s Workshop in Gainesville Florida is an inventive and visionary creator His drawings display as much spontaneity and verve as ever energizing and illuminating the somber narrative Throughout he references his inspirations artists as disparate as Laurie Anderson Hayao Miyazaki Werner Herzog and Akira Kurosawa underscoring his message of the power of art to help process understand and accept the burden "OF GREAT LOSS ROSALIE LIGHTNING IS A RAW UNCOMPROMISING "great loss Rosalie Lightning is a raw uncompromising full of sorrow and occasional despair yet ultimately uplifting suffused with great love and warmth for little Rosalie I can t recommend this book enough A deep breath a slow opening of the soul a gift of love The final seuence is one of the most beautiful things I ve ever read I could feel my heart unfolding unclenchingTom Hart s been uietly making a mark in comics for than twenty years from his beautiful poetic mini comics in the 1990s to the smart funny and deeply political Hutch Owen The Sands Daddy Lightning BanksEubanks etc etc And for many years he s also been teaching supporting and inspiring another generation of cartoonists to cartoon like you mean it Tom s one of the most interesting cartoonists around He s slowly built a body of work that s innovative and experimental in a way that s maybe less obvious to casual readers but rewards countless re reads There s an aesthetic sensibility at work in his comics that s uniue and powerful and it s been consistent from the very beginning His work is like no one else s I think his importance and influence have been under recognised something I hope is about to change with this extraordinary unforgettable bookRosalie Lightning is a landmark book the culmination of Tom s craft and his whole approach to cartooning as a potent personal intimate artform It s viscerally powerful deceptively simple and direct honest and heartfelt and generous There are layers of complexity and depth in this book and a raw intensity that won t be denied It s a book about why we live and why we make art I now the subject will frighten some people away but there s really no need It s the most loving joyful real comic I ve read in a long timeA masterpiece It deserves to be read discussed and studied for years to come I have been sitting on writing a review of this book for a few days In part because all the early reviews call it brilliant and well I feel sorry for the guy because he lost his two year old daughter and it seems downright mean to say anything other than all the praise that has been heaped on this book Why turn critic on a guy in grief Tom Hart and his also comics artist wife Leela Corman had a magical time with Rosalie their daughter until she suddenly and unexpectedly died around the age of two she suddenly and unexpectedly died around the age of two don t now why As one can only imagine this was devastating for them And the loss of a child is common enough for enough readers to be able to relate to it Or for most of us who have suffered the death of a family member or something like that It s maybe not similar enough to say I feel your exact pain but I have a son wh. Rosalie Lightning is Eisner nominated cartoonist Tom Hart's #1 New York Times bestselling touching and beautiful graphic memoir about the untimely death of his young daughter Rosalie His heart breaking and emotional illustrations strike readers to the core an. Rosalie Lightning A Graphic Memoir

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Shares In fact I was surprised by the solidly almost defiantly hopeful ending Maybe Hart was too My heart goes out to him and his wife I hope they find peace and at least a little bit of joy after such a horrible tragedy READ THIS BOOK Comics don t often move me That s a hell of a thing to say coming from one who has staked a big chunk of his life and work on reading and talking up comics It s true comics engage and amuse me often spark my thinking often delight my eye and sometimes thrill me It s true that I enjoy reading them in ways that I find hard to put into words But relatively few comics have pulled belly laughs out of me and even fewer far fewer have moved me to tears or to the point where I felt emotion cresting and overtaking me In that category I d put Spiegelman s MAUS Brabner Pekar and Stack s OUR CANCER YEAR Beto s PALOMAR Xaime s LOCAS Tyler s SOLDIER S HEART Nilsen s DON T GO WHERE I CAN T FOLLOW Schulz s PEANUTS and precious few others Tom Hart s ROSALIE LIGHTNING is one of those books and since I read it last night has instantly become one of my most treasured examples of graphic memoir It is That Book one that untrains you in the medium and teaches you the medium all over again One that icks your ass round the room while you pore over it in perfect stillness and silence One that sets your heart shivering and makes you hug the damn thing to you when you re done A story of deepest grief of emotional and spiritual confusion and hard journeying of a midnight dark passage through something that most of us would hope never to experience and yet a book that never succumbs to true despair to stasis and soul death and mere settling No No cynicism or collapse here Hart has conjured a deeply affirming life valuing goddammit this did really happen but I m going to live it and make art out of it Book of Books Not just a raw record of pained lived through and absorbed into life this is one of the most artful creatively risk taking graphic books I ve read in a long time braided with exuisite care searchingly ever changing in form and techniue artistically and textually protean adaptive awake and alive READ THIS COMIC It wrung me out like a rag and I m glad of it The grief in this book tore out my heart The tears were streaming down my face but the emotion can never compare to what Tom Hart and his wife went through after the sudden and unexpected death of their daughter Rosalie The author reflects on his memories of his daughter during the last few weeks of her little life All the things she said her drawings the events she was apart ofall the accumulative retrospect that leads to crippling what if s regret and guilt I can t imagine my son no longer being in my life I don t think I could go on seriously I can t even think about it But Tom Hart gathered all of his thoughts and experiences related to Rosalie s life and death and offered them to the masses His very personal journey through the depths of despair is painfully raw and honest and slowly leads to light at the end Rosalie is gone but never forgotten and life and love continues I am in awe at the generosity Tom Hart must possess to release Rosalie Lightning A Graphic
I hope this helps families over who have suffered such loss as well I havean ARC of this to review for a great publication right now I am avoiding writing that review because no review can do justice to how powerful this book is Suffice it to say it is pretty amazing and gut wrenching and challenging and a NECESSARY READ I wish it could hurry up and come out for everyone but it is SO WORTH THE WAIT guys Pre order it get yourself on the library holds list while it s still on order Just Read It A very emotional graphic novel This book is an homage from the author to his dead daughter that die when she was almost 2 years old All in simplicity the author goes through the even and his grief process Very touching and beautiful at the same time Sad but worth reading Until you experience it there is no way to really conceptualize what it feels like to lose a child Really there s no way to conceptualize losing a loved one period until you ve gone through it I think that s because of all the emotions we experience grief is the one that is truly the most personal and thus subjective No one grieves in exactly the same way I now there are supposed to be stages and we all cry of course but the way we experience and express loss and grief strikes me as uniue to the individual as a finger print Tom Hart the author of this uniue bleak memoir lost his beloved daughter Rosalie before she turned two years old One day he was reveling in the bright chaos only a toddler can create and the next day she was gone Hart and his wife spend the majority of the book in a gloom shrouded uest for answers Why was Rosalie taken How long will they feel the pain of her passing What do they do now That they now they will never find any answers makes their story all the gut wrenching for the reader They travel to a grief retreat and spend weeks staying with friends around the country but they do it in a haze like zombies going through the motions of a half remembered former life Everything is a reminder of what they ve lost or a portent they should have recognized that might have saved her A great deal of the story s impact derives from Hart s focus on the little things The frustration of trying to sell their apartment is a major focus in the narrative and ends up being a powerful symbol of the helplessness and sense of losing all control of their lives they re already experiencing He notes the first time he touches a child after Rosalie s dies the first night he doesn t sleep with her picture under his pillow the first book he brings himself to read He writes about the dreams he and his wife and even their friends have About Rosalie Hart S Art Rosalie Hart s art is as bleak as the story he s sharing His grief is black and white and full of people with empty eyes standing in perpetual inky shadow Hart and his wife seem to almost disappear at times into dark scratched out portraits so distorted its occasionally hard to make out their features Rosalie is the only character ever depicted in a joyful way She is fat and full of smiles and surrounded by light the way she will doubtless remain in the memories of her parents There s an Rt creatively portrays the solace he discovers in nature philosophy great works of literature and art across all media in this expressively honest and loving tribute to his baby girl Rosalie Lighting is a graphic masterpiece chronicling a father's undying lov. .
O was in some sense lost to severe autism after being apparently normal until he was three Late onset autism they call it He was also identified as lead poisoned We don t now how any of this might have happened and we spun out of control in rage and grief for years because of it and no you never uite get over it And I m not trying to euate one Finding Happily-Ever-After (Matchmaking Mamas, kind of experience to another All this is just to say terrible things happen and one of the virtues of art is that it can help you cope it can function as therapy as healing Nature can help friends can help time heals and so on Solace is needed and books like this can point you to how to get some They can be the solaceWe need these books when we are suffering like a blog or a listserv we can talk to others who have suffered as we have Sharing grief Helping each other heal I m not cynical about that I read a ton of books about autism when my son was in the steepest time of his regression when he was losing language on a daily basis and I recommend reading books as a way of coping with almost everything And this is surely one good book for those who are grieving for those who can relate I do think it can help And I do think it is good to see what story and memoir can do to help you heal even if you haven t lost a child Because over time all of us will suffer one way or the other and you will need tonow how to weather a range of storms as you live this life I mean in some ways nothing can fully prepare you for the death of a loved one but I do think much of the especially literary reading I have not about grief and loss has helped me personally prepare for the times when they happened Such as Tolstoy s The Death of Ivan Illych for instance Maybe a little preparation at leastGraphic memoirs about grief I have read in the past year or two include Willy Linthout s The Years of the Elephant about the suicide of his adult son and his seuel What We Need to Know a sort of darkly funny dysfunctional family memoir about coping and failing to cope with grief Anders Nilsen s Don t Go Where I Can t Follow not really entirely comics but an album of and about Nilsen s loss of his girlfriend from cancer Naming Monsters by Hannah Eaton about coping with the loss of her mother at seventeen where suddenly monsters appear everywhere in her life mythical beasts I suppose Alison Bechdel s Fun Home might in part be described in part as a graphic memoir about the grief of losing her father though it doesn t feel so much like conventional grieving But you could say it is her way of dealing with her grief Not everyone falls apart not every cries It s an unusual grieving storyAnd there s so many non graphic memoirs about grief like Joan Didion s tale of her lost husband The Year of Magical Thinking detailing the rage and alienation and disorientation and near madness she feels Too many similar stories to recountRosalie Lightning is the only graphic memoir about the loss of a child I can recall It was difficult to read and how can I criticize how he chose to express his grief That said I might have hoped for a little less detail of all their financial issues their car and house ownership troubles as they grieved The book moves predictably from despair to hope as most such books do and this is good because we need to hope But because I have read a lot of books about grief now I tend to step back and look for unconventional tales Formal surprises Willy Linthout s style in The Years of the Elephant is strange and disorienting the path to healing is less sure than Hart s and the artistic style is strange and disorienting the path to healing is less sure than Hart s and the artistic style the disorientation he feels Hallucinations he experiences separations from people Some of this is there in Hart s tale surely he represents grief in his artistic choices and it s good but less edgy than in LinthoutI guess I just think this Linthout s is a interesting and uniue way of illustrating his grief than what I experience with Hart who regularly shares with us maybe it s really for himself and his wife favorite expressions and toys and images of Rosalie a girl whose loss we can t feel as much as he does of course I m not criticizing Hart here so much as talking about artistic preferences And not trying to be hardhearted or mean Eaton in her memoir also by contrast sees monsters everywhere in her grief It s a ind of metaphor or analogy for grief living with these mythical beasts and ghosts and she must name these monsters to move on It s so interesting that her grief manifests itself in monsters I guess I just prefer analogical or poetic expressions of grief than Hart s somewhat to me anyway raw straightforward version I dunno I guess maybe I am just hard on tales of hardship I want them to surprise me and not just be cathartic The art and telling of Hart s tale is cathartic I am sure for him and those in similar situations Comics saves Hart Maybe they will save many of usHart s art and story are well done just less startling to me I want an arc that tells me something or shows me something I don t already now But if you have lost a child you have already stopped reading my review and you are already reading his book I hope As you should do I wish you solace and balm from grief and hope I don t usually read graphic novels but the description of Rosalie Lightning caught my attention so here I am I can t believe how powerful this book is It is stunning Heartbreaking The text is incredible on its own but coupled with the picturesI mean there are no words to describe it Reading this book is pure feeling All picturesI mean there are no words to describe it Reading this book is pure feeling All do is experience the author s pain along with him Some of my favorite parts The part where he talks to a pregnant woman right after his baby dies and he describes himself draws himself as shattered obsidian The part where he draws Images You ll Get Used to While Grieving Your Lost Child crackers fruits and meats in little gift boxes oranges peeled never eaten your spouse on the ground you on the ground The part where he describes his past a sketch of his baby playing in the grass his present a sketch of him wide and bleary eyed on the ground his future a solid suare of blackness The many parts where he shows what his child was like and then what she could have been but will never be So basically I cried A lotThere is light at the end of this book or maybe I should say growth I love the last story Hart. D take them along his family's journey through loss Hart uses the graphic form to articulate his and his wife's on going search for meaning in the aftermath of Rosalie's death exploring themes of grief hopelessness rebirth and eventually finding hope again Ha.
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