After violent attacks on women in both India and Australia, Eat the Sky, Drink the Moon was created as a collaboration between authors and artists froAfter violent attacks on women in both India and Australia, Eat the Sky, Drink the Moon was created as a collaboration between authors and artists from both countries. The book consists of speculative fiction short stories, graphic stories and a script looking at imagining women in a different world.
As you would expect when you look at the list of authors involved in this project, there’s some wonderful writing in here. The one that stands out most vividly is Margo Lanagan’s Cat Calls, which shows a collaboration of characters coming together to confront street harassment. It’s not a big or showy story, but it’s incredibly effective at hitting the point.
I also thoroughly enjoyed Cooking Time by Anita Roy. Unlike Cat Calls, this was an expansive story – stretching from a futuristic world where all our food comes from tubes to time travel back in the past for a television cooking competition. I’m not even a television cooking competition fan, but I would totally watch MasterChef of All Time – it’s such an imaginative and interesting idea!
What a Stone Can’t Feel by Penni Russon was a really lovely and quiet piece of writing. It felt really contemporary, like we were in another version of our world right now (or a hidden part of our world). The part I love the most in this story is the character talking about how she’d knit memories:
“I’d knit it,” Lyss says again. “I’d knit the whole history of human memory. And if I made a mistake, I wouldn’t frog it. I’d just keep knitting. I’d make the knots and holes part of the fabric”
While there’s lots of great stories in the anthology, it doesn’t quite feel like it’s following a singular purpose as a whole. Some of the stories feel a little indulgent or like they’re trying a little too hard without having a really clear idea of what they’re trying to achieve. A lot of the worlds are ‘different’, but the things happening to the young women in the stories aren’t particularly different to what we see today. I wonder if this was the best way to create an anthology like this or if there were other ways which might have produced a more cohesive piece of work.
This is a really visually involved Graphic Novel. The artwork doesn’t immediately seem to be complex – the lines are usually clean and uninvolved. HowThis is a really visually involved Graphic Novel. The artwork doesn’t immediately seem to be complex – the lines are usually clean and uninvolved. However, there’s a lot to take in when you look more closely, and you would probably find more over subsequent readings. Particularly interesting are the shadows which repeatedly show up in Will’s life – I would guess that different readers would have different approaches to the art work.
I read some complaints that the book was too mature for younger readers. I would agree that it is aimed at a teenager audience, but I feel complaints that it’s ‘too old’ demonstrates a misunderstanding of graphic novels. A lot of people feel that they’re only for children or poor readers and fail to see or look for the strong graphic novels aimed at YA and Adult audiences.
Other reviews I read claimed that it would not be interesting enough for YA readers. It’s definitely not a ‘something happening every panel’ graphic novel, instead the story winds its way through the book like the river Will and her friends visit. I think there are plenty of ‘quiet’ YA novels which gain a loyal following from YA readers and I see no reason that quiet YA graphic novels can’t do the same.
I think there could be some really interesting conversations to be had about the inclusion of the carnival and the blackout – especially treating them as metaphors. Will begins the graphic novel using light powered by electricity to keep the darkness at bay. By the end of the novel, she’s required to think of alternative methods to create light. At the same time, she’s using her controlled life to keep the darkness of her past away and is required to use different approaches by the end. The carnival, with its variety of displays, yet strict adherence to social ‘rules’ is another interesting aspect of the story.
I think this book would be really interesting to study in coordination with Shaun Tan’s The Red Tree, which also uses interesting imagery to explore personal darkness.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this quiet but effective graphic novel. I haven’t read as many graphic novels recently as I did when I was teaching and this was a wonderful reintroduction to the format.
A short, but touching graphic novel about a relationship between a father and son, set as the father is dying. Both the text and the images are sparseA short, but touching graphic novel about a relationship between a father and son, set as the father is dying. Both the text and the images are sparse, letting the readers fill in the spaces. ...more