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The Crack Magazine

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Sleeping While Standing by Taki Soma

Taki Soma is a HUGO nominated comic book artist, writer and colourist who has worked on projects such as ‘Rapture’ and ‘Sinergy’. ‘Sleeping While Standing’ meanwhile is her first purely autobiographical work, in which she takes us through her early childhood in Japan, and then her move to Minnesota, as well as sundry childhood traumas, teen angst and beyond. The narrative is not ordered in an A to B to C fashion. Instead, Soma has divided her life into little chapters – each not more than four or five pages long – that detail events (some major, some not) that have affected her in some way. These can range from receiving a medical diagnosis to taking drugs for the first time. It’s often the little vignettes that I found most moving. In the chapter entitled ‘Promise’ we learn how Soma had a cat when she was young, but it died in pain when her mother didn’t realise how ill it was. Now an adult, Soma buys a kitten of our own – Xander – and vows “to make sure the end of this new kitten’s life will be better”. As Xander grows it develops health problems, but Soma manages to stay on top of them. After 14 years however, the cat has to be taken to the vet for one last visit. “He died in my arms as we sang to him his signature song: “Xander, he’s a cat – he’s the greatest cat of all. He’s the one with the cutest face, he’s the one with the longest tail – we’re the same, we’re the same.” A wonderful book. RM

Published by Avery Hill Publishing