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The Crack Magazine

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Alison by Lizzy Stewart

In Lizzy Stewart’s new comic book (or graphic novel, if you will) nothing outrageous happens. There are no murders, no wars, no alien invasions. What we do get is the story of someone’s life – the titular Alison – born at the back end of the 1950s in sleepy Dorset. She marries Andrew, who seems a decent sort, but he spends all day at work while Alison is left alone, pottering around in their cottage. She tries to leaven her boredom by signing up for art classes, which are being run by Patrick – who we learn is a feted portraitist: he has work hanging in the Tate. Patrick – who is almost thirty years Lizzy’s senior – tells her that she shows immense promise, but it’s obvious his interest in her runs to more than praising her handing of a 2B pencil. One thing leads to another and Alison leaves Andrew to move to London with Patrick where he sets her up in her own flat (he doesn’t want her to live with him because, he says, it will hamper his art). Alison revels in her newfound freedom (“It seemed like a trick, that my days could be my own. Where was the catch?”) and sets about becoming an artist in her own right. Alison’s various relationships, which are few but complex, are beautifully drawn – both figuratively and literally – especially a friendship she strikes up with a female sculptor. And the author skilfully manages to tease out all the nuances of a life in a tale that, despite being as old as the hills, manages to feel fresh and relevant. RM

Published by Serpent’s Tail