displacement

Displacement: A Travelogue by Lucy Knisley

Displacement: A Travelogue appears to be the second in a trilogy of graphic memoirs centered around travel by Knisley and while by now she's become an auto-buy author for me, it's the third in the series that I just can't wait for! 

But since she's probably still inking the third one (you can follow her progress on Instagram), I was happy to receive Displacement. The first on the series was about traveling in Europe after a breakup with her long-term boyfriend John, while hanging out with a new Swedish boyfriend, her newlywed friends, and her mother and her mother's friends. Boyfriend angst, yummy foods, creative adventures, and exciting travel. 

Displacement, though, not such exciting travel. At twenty seven years old, when none of her parents or aunts and uncles would take on the responsibility, Knisley accompanied her 91 & 93 year old very compromised grandparents on a ten day cruise. They're decaying: their brains, their bodies, their emotions. To be a caregiver for them would tax the most trained medical personnel; Knisley had her youth and love to shore her up through what must have been the most grueling ten days of her life thus far.

Interspersed with their journey, Knisley also includes entries from her grandfather's memoir of his time as a pilot during World War II. It's a brilliant split screen of sorts; reminding the reader that however distant and vacant he may appear in his senility, her grandfather was once a young and articulate soldier who witnessed some horrifying things and recorded them with insight and empathy.     

I'm looking forward to Knisley's third in this series (it's all about her reunion and subsequent marriage to the former long-term boyfriend, John and is slated to be titled Something New) with great anticipation and, honestly, I wasn't sure I was initially excited about this departure. It's true that it's difficult and frightening; it's also insightful, empathic, honest, loving.