The accumulation of the small daily events and exchanges that make up a life are the focus of Glynnis Fawkes’s Persephone’s Garden, a collection of comics written from 2012 to 2018, some previously published in magazines, journals, and websites.
Most of these comics are in the form of short diary entries and travelogues. Fawkes, an archaeological illustrator, depicts the day-to-day duties of her work on-site in Greece, Cyprus, and Turkey. She also probes her childhood in Portland, Oregon and her family’s life in Vermont today.
Some comics are inspired by routine events but are informed by Fawkes’s imagination, like the humorous piece “Going to Yoga with Charlotte Bronte.” The story line that ties this seemingly random collection together is that of Fawkes’s mother, a well-known weaver of linen inlay tapestries who’s now afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease. Her deterioration instills Fawkes’s drive to preserve the minor, otherwise forgotten moments captured in the book, including her children battling over dinner, clothing, or reading choices, giving everything a vital sense of purpose.
The collection showcases Fawkes’s versatility with different styles. The brisk, four-panel template of her “daily diary” comics appears alongside the more measured and detail-rich look of her longer pieces. The comics strike different notes that will resound in different ways with different readers.
Relayed as short segments set in a variety of settings and situations, Persephone’s Garden is an intimate graphic autobiography of a most unusual kind.
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