By Lizzy Stewart. Published by Serpent’s Tail.
Hardcover, 192 pages, Colour and B&W, 2022
This graphic novel chronicles the life of a woman painter living in bohemian 1970s London who navigates a predatory mentor, sexism, classism, and her lack of self-confidence in her abilities to become a successful and respected artist.
Alison tells the story of a young British woman who, in her twenties, seizes upon the opportunity to escape from her quiet life in Dorset to the thrumming art scene of late-1970s London. But the vehicle for her escape is a charismatic older man whose reputation as an artist and philanderer casts a shadow which will follow Alison for years as she pursues her painting career.
Combining immaculate prose and stunning artwork, Alison is a complex love and coming-of-age story, as well as a meditation on female friendship and empowerment, class and patriarchy, the creative process and the thorny world of fine art. British illustrator and author Lizzy Stewart crafts a graphic novel that evokes the atmospheric milieu of bohemian London in the late 20th century, while at the same time exploring the more universal struggles of women who must navigate male-dominated spaces.
Told through quietly powerful interpersonal moments rich with meaning and mood, this graphic novel will appeal to fans of Sally Rooney and Leanne Shapton, as well as the great empathic writers Alice Munro, Hilary Mantel, and Tessa Hadley.
"Mournful, lovely... Stewart's dynamic, warm, flowing art invites the reader in." — The New York Times Book Review
"There's a quiet but powerful immediacy to [Stewart's work] that will appeal to lit fic fans who may not always pick up comics." — Publishers Weekly
"Subtle and deliciously complicated. This is a big book on big subjects, but lightly, elegantly done. I loved it." — Tessa Hadley
"This book is a testament to the right to choose your own life. It made me long for my friends; the dreams we have shared over the years and the ways in which they make the world feel possible. I want to give a copy to everyone I love." — Jessica Andrews