Tangles in German: Das große Durcheinander
I just got my author copy of the German edition of Tangles in the mail today, and here’s a mediocre iPhone picture! Unlike the Canadian, American and UK editions, this one is hardcover. Surprisingly thrilling to feel it in my hands. And the paper is heavier, too. And — most of the lovely hardcover books I’ve seen from Canadian or American publishers are done in China or another Asian country to save costs. But this was done in Germany. Pretty cool. Also my publisher, Beltz, made a mini-version, called a “leseprobe,” for promo. It is super cute. (And I try not to call it a “lezzy probe.”) It has just two chapters from the book in it. I am really happy to be publishing with Beltz. My editor, Petra Dorn, has been amazing, and the promotions team work crazy hard. And, there have already been some great reviews of the book…
Here are some links along with brief translated excerpts:
My publisher says: “A portrait of Alzheimer that is touching and makes you feel sad: of the slow disappearance of an impressive personality – and about the reactions of the people around her.”
Google translate says: “The book is a love letter that stirs one to tears.”
My publisher says: “The journalist says that your book is very moving, and that it tells of the great love for your mother. With excellence you manage to transfer overwhelming feelings, little misunderstandings and hurts in the family into pictures and words.”
Süddeutsche Zeitung (review not online)
My publisher: “They call the book very impressive and like it very much that it is kind of a diary which catches all the daily things that Alzheimer brings into families.”
Nido (review not online)
My publisher: “They call the book ‘sad, sensitive – and encouraging.’”
And here is an excerpt from my current favourite Google translation of a review:
“Six years takes the big mess up mother can finally run no longer, in a home comes and there died… The reading is therefore not really a fun thing, but this story has something very comforting for all involved. It tells of deep feelings of love and togetherness. And that’s just beautiful.” — “Farewell to Rates” (I know that can’t be a correct translation!) by Ulricke Schimming on the Lettera blog
It was interesting to work on the German translation of Tangles. I had to let go of some of my control issues and trust the translator, since I don’t read German. Most of Tangles is lettered with a font I created from my handwriting — which, incidentally, I don’t think I would do again. Hand lettering from now on! Anyway, I redid the font to include German characters, and relettered some of the handwritten parts, but the designer actually redid some of the handwriting herself or replaced it with a different font, which was a bit painful for me but I realized it was a necessary letting go. Or it felt like it to me, anyway. The Beltz team was really careful and respectful and the book looks awesome. One slightly odd thing — they included a glossary at the end, for terms like “reiki,” “chorizo” and “mezcal.” Do Germans not know these words? And, a little bit disturbing, they included the word “Chanukah” in the glossary. If anyone has insights into this, I’d love to hear them.
Tangles: more American reviews
I forgot to add this lovely review of Tangles by David Ulin that appeared in the LA Times in the spring:
What she’s getting at is the essence of who we are and how we operate, of what underlies our neurons, what defines identity. “This is a hard thing to say,” her mother says after Leavitt shows her a few pages of this book, at the time a work in progress. “I’m not a real person.”
But what defines reality? That’s the central question, although “Tangles” doesn’t (can’t) provide an answer. And yet, in framing her loss and her uncertainty through the lens of love, Leavitt manages to find a fragile resolution: conditional, moving, rigorous and heartbreaking at once.
Tangles released in the US: great reviews!
The US edition of Tangles came out from Skyhorse Publishing May 1. It’s been a great first couple weeks. I feel very lucky.
Elissa Schappell of Vanity Fair says:
In her graphic memoir, Tangles: A Story About Alzheimer’s, My Mother, and Me (Skyhorse), Sarah Leavitt tries to hold on to her beloved mother, Midge, and unknot the tensions that arise between friends and family. As she does, day by day Midge’s mind erases more of her past, and the future becomes less certain. Not only a spot-on portrait of the dark comedy and vast sadness that Alzheimer’s contains, the book is a fitting tribute to Leavitt’s mom.
Jane Eisner of the Forward:
I felt that way about the whole memoir; it works. At first, I wasn’t sure whether Leavitt could do justice to the confusing feelings and family dynamics that she aims to portray in “Tangles,” which she calls “a story about Alzheimer’s, my mother and me.” While the genre of graphic novels has grown ever more sophisticated, it’s still a challenge to turn comic book heroes into complicated human beings. But Leavitt is able to make her characters seem real with a few strokes of the pencil and fewer words. Read the full review…
Exciting times! Meanwhile I am finishing a couple of illustration jobs and working on my next book in bits and pieces. Thanks for checking in!
Tangles news: Kirkus Star, Guardian review, German interview
Catching up on Tangles news for February:
Tangles got a coveted Kirkus Starred Review — super exciting! US publication is May 1.
The Guardian published a short, sweet review.
And Maxi, a German magazine, published a three-page feature on Tangles, with a translated excerpt and an interview with me. I am working on getting someone to translate it for me! The article isn’t online, so here are a few photos from the print copy…
More UK press for Tangles
Here are some more great UK articles about Tangles…
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No it’s a real-life superheroine! in The Jewish Chronicle — an article by Sarah Lightman about Jewish women cartoonists that includes me and Tangles
Drawing the unsayable in the Irish Independent — about Tangles and Billy, Me & You by Nicola Streeten
A funny way to deal with death in The Independent – a different article about Tangles and Billy, Me & You
And why not add a drawing I did right after we got back from London?