Literary Life Revisited
I discovered recently that one of my favorite cartoonists, Posy Simmonds, had a book out I didn’t know about. (This is common, as not many of her works have been published over here. Thank goodness for easy overseas ordering these days.) Literary Life Revisited is an expanded edition of the 2003 Literary Life, a savagely funny collection of cartoon pages about authors, publishers, and booksellers.
The revisited edition is well worth it, as it has the occasional color cartoon, and it has 100-some pages instead of the previous book’s 60-something. It’s a larger format and even has thicker pages. It reprints the newspaper strips she did for The Guardian.
I just love Simmonds’ sense of humor, as she shows us those who enjoy being authors more than writers, wannabes, those devastated by bad reviews, nostalgia for better past days that never were, and a script doctor who helps with writer’s block or the question of how to fix laughable sex scenes. Her expressive characters are wonderful and her style unique. The publishing world shown here is a similar milieu to her best-known book, Tamara Drewe.
I’d suggest an American publisher pick this volume up, but part of its immense charm for me is how very British it all is. And I doubt that a US publisher would put the word “penis” on the cover. (Which uses a cartoon I’d previously seen in the Cartoon Museum in London, so it’s officially respectable.)
My favorite part, one of the new additions to the revised edition, was a three-page Sherlock Holmes strip in which Watson is concerned about an author having a fit, while Holmes tries to avoid being arrested for smoking, as shown below. All in all, I found the book a wonderful read. Any book of cartoons where you immediately want to show them to your friends is a good one.