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Book Room: Summer 2016

Reviews of Hot Dog Taste Test, We're All In This Together, Queers Were Here, The Griffin Poetry Prize Anthology 2016 and Five Roses.

Lisa Hanawalt, an illustrator and a production designer for Netflix’s BoJack Horseman, mixes short satirical comics, illustrations, photos and longer illustrated stories to great effect in her third book, Hot Dog Taste Test (Drawn & Quarterly). The collection defies a singular reading—there is always something more to be seen, with multiple layers and hidden strange gems in each piece (tip: don’t skip the publishing credits). The strength of Hanawalt’s collection lies in the way she juxtaposes snark and humour with anxiety, depression and grief. “Planting” typifies this mode: the comic begins on familiar ground as two anthropomorphic birds purchase their first home and the wife begins to fill the house with plants. As the plants take over, the story slides into the surreal. Is it simple enthusiasm for a new hobby? Nesting? Or signs of a slow retreat from the outside world? “Planting” exemplifies the shifting ground ...

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