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Random House Publishing Group, Fall 2018

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Passing for Human
A Graphic Memoir
By (author): Liana Finck
9780525508922 Hardcover English General Trade COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS / Nonfiction / Biography & Memoir Sep 18, 2018
$37.00 CAD
Active 7.6 x 9.4 x 0.84 in 240 pages 2/C ART THROUGHOUT Random House
A visually arresting graphic memoir about a young artist struggling against what’s expected of her as a woman, and learning to accept her true self, from an acclaimed New Yorker cartoonist.

In this achingly beautiful graphic memoir, Liana Finck goes in search of that thing she has lost—her shadow, she calls it, but we can also think of it as the “otherness” or “strangeness” that has defined her since birth, that part of her that has always felt as though she is living in exile from the world. In Passing for Human, Finck is on a quest for self-understanding and self-acceptance—and along the way, she seeks to answer some eternal questions: What makes us whole? What parts of ourselves do we hide or ignore or chase away—because they’re embarrassing, or inconvenient, or just plain weird—and at what cost?

Passing for Human is what Finck calls “a neurological coming-of-age story”—one in which, through childhood, human connection proved elusive, and her most enduring relationships were with plants and rocks and imaginary friends; in which her mother was an artist whose own creative life had been stifled by an unhappy marriage and a deeply sexist society that seemed expressly designed to snuff out creativity in women; in which her father was a doctor who also struggled, in secret, with the guilt of having passed his own form of otherness on to his daughter; and in which, as an adult, Finck finally finds her shadow again—and with it, her true self.

Melancholy and funny, personal and surreal, Passing for Human is a profound exploration of identity by one of the most talented young comics artists working today. Part magical odyssey, part feminist creation myth, this is most of all an extraordinary, moving meditation on what it means to be an artist and a woman grappling with the desire to pass for human.

ALISON BECHDEL MEETS ANGELA CARTER: This is a graphic memoir that uses fantastical, metaphorical elements—little fears (“the fears that gnaw”) that sit on your shoulder, talking shadows, boyfriends who magically disappear—to convey deeper emotional truths.

BEAUTIFUL PACKAGE: Paper over board, endpapers, and flashes of color throughout—the book will be a gorgeous, gifty object.

AUTHOR PLATFORM: 111,000 Instagram followers, with many prominent artists and writers among them.

AUTHOR VISIBILITY: A regular contributor to THE NEW YORKER. She draws two comics a week for The Stranger, and one every two weeks for Catapult.

DISTINCTIVE STYLE: Liana’s art is unmistakable. Every panel has a deceptively simple style, with a propulsive energy and a poignant quality that lures you in and shakes you up.

THE RISE OF THE GRAPHIC MEMOIR: Marjane Satropis’s Persepolis (over 540,000 copies sold) and Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home (over 220,000 copies sold) were both commercial successes. Gene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese sold over 224,000 copies and was a National Book Award finalist.

LIANA FINCK is a regular contributor to The New Yorker, The Awl, and Catapult. She is a recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, and a Six Points Fellowship for Emerging Jewish Artists. She has had artist residencies with MacDowell, Yaddo, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Center, and Tablet Magazine. Her first book, A Bintel Brief, was published by Ecco Press in 2014.

Author Residence: Brooklyn, NY

Author Hometown: New York, NY

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“In its ambition, framing, and multiple layers, [Passing for Human] raises the bar for graphic narrative. Even fans of [Liana Finck’s] work in the New Yorker will be blindsided by this outstanding book.”Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“A sure hit for readers of graphic memoirs, this explores feeling different while recognizing sameness in others and making art while embracing being a work-in progress oneself.”—Annie Bostrom, Booklist
“Alienation is both blessing and curse in this elegant graphic memoir of being the odd woman out…. Finck’s whimsy acts as a microscope to better understand family, romance, and isolation. This story is as tender as it is wry…. Becoming human is a lifelong task—but Finck illustrates it with humor and panache.”Publishers Weekly

Passing for Human is one of the most extraordinary memoirs I’ve ever read. It’s a story about becoming a person, about creativity, about love, all told with originality and grace. An amazing, amazing book.”—Roz Chast, author of Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?
“If even for a minute, somewhere along the way, you’ve wondered whether you may have been uneasily zipped into a human body, you need this book, a magical, moving, twelve-dimensional tale of fugitive soulmates and fugitive souls. No one draws like Liana Finck, and no one enchants like her either.”—Stacy Schiff, author of Cleopatra

“Liana Finck has crafted an inventive, one-of-a-kind memoir that’s as heartfelt as it is unpredictable.”—Adrian Tomine, author of Killing and Dying

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