Additional Book Information
Series: New York Review Comics
Publication Date: September 3, 2019
The Tenderness of Stones
by Marion Fayolle, translated from the French by Geoffrey Brock
“We buried one of dad’s lungs,” announces the narrator of The Tenderness of Stones. The lung is so large it takes three men to carry it—and that is just the beginning. The family looks on as, under the dispassionate orders of anonymous white-clad strangers, their father is disassembled, piece by piece: His nose is removed from his face and tied, temporarily, to his neck; his other lung is pulled out and he is forced to lug it around in a cart; his mouth is pried off and stored away, leaving him mute. Beneath it all is one devastating truth: Soon, he will be gone entirely.
Marion Fayolle is one of the most innovative young artists in contemporary comics, and in this startling, gorgeously drawn fable she offers a vision of family illness and grief that is by turns playful and profound, literal and lyrical. She captures the strange swirl of love, resentment, grief, and humor that comes as we watch a loved one transformed before our eyes, and learn to live without them.
This NYRC edition is an oversized hardcover with full color, printed endpapers, extra-thick paper, and new English hand-lettering to carefully match the look and feel of the original French edition.
Click to enlarge images
Shortlisted for the 2020 Cartoonist Studio Prize, presented by The Center for Cartoon Studies and Slate
Fayolle’s picture book panels teem with emotive hatching and cross-hatching, and wordless sequences swell with pathos, perched over cursive lettering by Dean Sudarsky, much like an illustrated, fantastical diary. Fayolle’s visual storytelling makes a profound statement about how people attempt to understand and respond to the process of watching a loved one being eroded and to accepting their mortality.
Fayolle has brilliantly captured the stages of caring for a dying loved one and the confusion of emotions that accompany the process. Her memoir is a profound work of beauty and understanding as it narrates and depicts the process of illness and mourning. It calls out to be read again and again.
—Rita D. Jacobs, World Literature Today
Written during and about the decline of her father’s health, this book is a gentle and fantastic journal of the way that a terminal illness rearranges a body and a mind, a family and a home. . . . Despite the somber subject matter, Fayolle’s steadily plodding voice and whimsical illustrations dream for us a world in which the gloom is offset, at least for a little while, by softly smiling delight. . . . The lightness of her style cushions the unpleasantness she is trying to engage with, and her use of metaphor . . . speaks to the difficulty of looking the grisliest parts of reality directly in the eye.
—Neal Baker, Reading in Translation