Like a cross between Leslie Jamison and Alison Bechdel, in this graphic memoir Kristen Radtke takes the best of the contemporary essay and brings her story to life with clean and evocative illustrations. Imagine Wanting Only This is a travelogue of displacement, following Radtke to abandoned mining towns, bombed-out ruins, and a lava-covered Icelandic island. What grounds it all, though, is the way Radtke examines what motivates her restlessness: the death of her uncle from a rare genetic mutation, the breakdown of a relationship. Kristen Radkte is a many-talented literary artist, and this remarkable debut will stay with me.
Imagine Wanting Only This by Kristen Radtke ($25.95, Pantheon Books), recommended by Travis, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC.