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Hetty survives the bombing of Portsmouth by the Nazis in World War II, only to learn that her soldier husband — with whom she was in the process of adopting a young daughter — has been killed on the way back home from North Africa. She must then complete the adoption alone. A decade later, she gives birth to a bastard daughter, Marguerite. Now Hetty must go before a tribunal to prove that she is a fit mother — or possibly lose both her children. From there, The Late Child and Other Animals tells the story of little Marguerite's childhood in the recovering British naval port and the rural beauty of the Isle of Wight and in Normandy, France. The journeys and struggles over decades of this mother and daughter are linked in five episodes that veer between lyricism, wry wit, and harrowing suspense.
The Late Child and Other Animals is an original graphic novel, a generational autobiography written by legendary punk diva and award-winning poet Marguerite Van Cook, adapted by artist James Romberger, the creator of the Eisner-nominated Post York. The team of Romberger and Van Cook is also responsible for the adaptation and art of 7 Miles a Second, their critically acclaimed graphic memoir collaboration with the late multimedia artist and AIDS activist, David Wojnarowicz.
“The Late Child and Other Animals shares the features that made Marguerite Van Cook and James Romberger’s collaboration with David Wojnarowicz such a success: the lush color, the creative visual mapping of a psychic landscape. The hallmarks of this remarkable writer-artist team are intensified in this loose, often lovely, personal coming-of-age narrative, haunted by a dark undercurrent, that focuses on Van Cook and her mother.” – Hillary Chute, author of Outside the Box: Interviews with Contemporary Cartoonists
"The stories in The Late Child and Other Animals are beautiful haunts, the stories that were never told and have returned, fully alive and tense with implication. The stories are the intersection of a national history and the exquisitely drawn inner life of the late child herself, Marguerite. The world Van Cook and Romberger recreate is unsafe, unfolding, and shot through with joy." – Amy Benson, author of The Sparkling-Eyed Boy
"Overwhelming, my first encounter with a graphic gathering of stories: I devoured them all in a huge gulp, from the detailed delights of fields and flowers to the fearsome tale of man and girl. Everything feels so very alive in these pages, words and colors and line!" – Mary Ann Caws, author of The Surrealist Look: An Erotics of Encounter, Surprised in Translation, and The Modern Art Cookbook
"This breathtaking auto/biography traces the life path of a mother, and then her daughter, as it weaves together fragments of each woman's memories to form a careful mosaic. The images and accompanying text together reflect a unique and powerful lyricism, one that captures everything from the aftermath of a grisly, war-torn landscape to youthful friendship blossoming on the Coast of Normandy. Reading The Late Child and Other Animals, one experiences how poetic the graphic novel form can be, how memories rendered through sharp lines, soft watercolors, and penetrating narrative prose can immerse you in worlds far, far away." – Tahneer Oksman, author of Mourning the Family Album