By Dominique Goblet, translated from the French by Sophie Yanow. Published by New York Review Comics.
Hardcover, 160 pages, Colour, 2017.
The first book to appear in English by the acclaimed Belgian artist Dominique Goblet, Pretending Is Lying is a memoir unlike any other.
WINNER OF THE 2018 SCOTT MONCRIEFF PRIZE FOR TRANSLATION FROM FRENCH
In a series of dazzling fragments—skipping through time, and from raw, slashing color to delicate black and white—Goblet examines the most important relationships in her life: with her partner, Guy Marc; with her daughter, Nikita; and with her parents.
The result is an unnerving comedy of paternal dysfunction, an achingly ambivalent love story (with asides on Thomas Pynchon and the Beach Boys), and a searing account of childhood trauma—a dizzying, unforgettable view of a life in progress and a tour de force of the art of comics.
This NYRC edition is a hardcover with extra-thick paper, full color throughout, and features new English hand-lettering by the artist.
Here’s a terrific example of the current wave of great comics from Europe. Dominique Goblet’s approach is postmodern, with a scruffy, anything-goes mix of styles and moods, but it’s marked everywhere by her forays into photography. She intersperses her tale – an autobiographical account of family, a lover, truth, lies and brutality – with images that look like photos.
—Etelka Lehoczky, NPR Book Concierge, “2017′s Great Reads”
It is a rare gift to come across a book as tender, affecting and complete as Pretending is Lying.
— Sheila Heti, The New York Times Book Review
This beautifully rendered, emotionally intense, and chronologically scattered reminiscence essentially questions the veracity of all autobiography.
Primarily pencil-sketched, Goblet’s art is unbridled and alternately busy and peaceful. She uses lettering to great effect, too, expressing mood, feeling, and, in her father’s case, drunkenness with the appearance of the text. Some pages feature only vague, dimly lit shapes, as if there are ghosts hovering on the periphery of Goblet’s relationships, her memoir’s primary subject. This is an imaginative, nonlinear rendering of an artist’s life so far.
A touchstone work of comics autobiography, from one of the genre’s key innovators, is finally translated, complete with expressive lettering newly handcrafted by the artist.
—Sean Rogers, Globe and Mail
Pretending Is Lying is a perceptive and poignant contribution to the fields of both experimental comics and graphic autobiography, and well worth the read.
— Hans Rollman, Pop Matters
Combining paint, ink, charcoal, and pencil, Goblet’s mixed-media pages feel wet, textured, bleeding…. [Pretending is Lying is] part of a rich tradition of international graphic memoirs from Art Spiegelman’s Maus to Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis to Riad Sattouf’s The Arab of the Future...We’re invited to peer into the artist’s mind.... It is a privilege to serve as [her] confidante, if only for a while…” — Chantal McStay, BOMB
Dominique Goblet spent twelve years putting parts of her life to rest—explicit snippets and fragments that condense her entire childhood and sketch a tender portrait of the adult she is today...Goblet hides nothing. And she forgives, weaving together, in gray and black and on yellowing paper, with strokes of her brush, a shocking kind of autobiography.
Faire semblant c’est mentir raises interesting and upsetting questions about our relationships with our loved ones and the way in which we build those relationships.