‘(Sarah Lightman) shares a sensitivity to the potential of the hybrid medium of comics for narrating mental states with comic book autobiographers such as Dominique Goblet, Birgit Weyhe and Regina Hofer; this sensitivity is what places The Book of Sarah alongside Goblet’s Faire semblant c’est mentir or Weyhe’s Ich weiss.
One can recognize leaps in time in the iridescent style of the drawings in The Book of Sarah; self-portraits mark the passing of time, where the text only vaguely indicates the temporal orientation. Text and image, although clearly related to each other, remain separate, panels and speech bubbles are not to be found. The pencil drawings, whose at times sketchy, at times extremely elaborate rugged materiality dominates the book, play a strong narrative role – they bear witness to stages in Sarah’s artistic development, marking the first-person perspective on relatives, books, places, herself. The handwritten reflections in first-person form bear witness to the search for self-knowledge, but this is only individualised by the tension created by the reference to drawings.
Graphic Memoir’ is an obvious genre ascription, especially because of Lightman’s recourse to the practice of diary writing. With its relentless introspection – intimate fears, longings, self-doubt are an integral part of the narrative – The Book of Sarah inscribes itself into the autobiographical strand of confessional writing.’
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