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The first volume of You’ll Never Know showed Carol’s initial, sometimes difficult attempts at grappling with her father Chuck’s traumatic World War II experiences by bringing them to light. As Book 2 begins, she is startled to discover that Chuck’s decision to suddenly, after 60 years, open up to her on the subject has motivations that go far beyond his desire to reveal his past — putting even more pressure on an already explosive relationship. In any event, Carol finally begins to delve into, and re-tell, Chuck’s horrific wartime experiences in Italy (which are worse than even she had imagined).
But back in the present, the cycle of family dysfunction continues as Carol’s own daughter runs into her own trouble, leading Carol into further exploration of her family’s buried traumas and sorrows — with an expanded reprinting of the out-of-print “The Hannah Story,” Tyler’s superb chronicle of the short life and accidental death of her older sister, a heart-rending story (named one of the “100 Best Comics of the 20th Century” in a Comics Journal survey) that in turn sheds light on her parents’ subsequent lives and patterns of behavior. Everything is connected, and the past is never just the past...
"Despite widening the focus to encompass the hardships of other family members — particularly
her mother, who suffered a trauma that rivals any battlefield experience — Tyler skillfully ties the various
events that occurred over a span of five decades into a cohesive, affecting narrative. Her visual
approach — supple ink drawings augmented by muted watercolor overlays — ideally conveys the jumble of
harsh travails, loving moments, and resilient humor that characterizes not just Tyler’s life but universal
experience. Tyler’s work represents autobiographical comics at their most personal, perceptive, and
– Gordon Flagg, Booklist
2010 Eisner Award Nominee: Best Writer/Artist — Non-Fiction (C. Tyler); Best Painter/Multimedia Artist (C. Tyler)
2009 Ignatz Award Nominee: Outstanding Artist, Outstanding Graphic Novel
Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2009 — Comics
Selected one of the 5 Best Comics of 2009 by Ellen Abramowitz, President of the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art (MoCCA)
#11, Best Comics (First Run or Definitively Collected) of 2009, The Comics Reporter
"Remarkable." – Paul Buhle (Senior Lecturer, Brown University), The Daily Cross Hatch, "The Best Damned Comics of 2009 Chosen by the Artists"
Top 5 comics of the year – Julia Wertz, The Daily Cross Hatch, "The Best Damned Comics of 2009 Chosen by the Artists"
"“It’s impossible not to compare You’ll Never Know
with Art Spiegelman’s Maus, the first great graphic
novel about what happened to a cartoonist’s father
during World War II… Tyler’s book is a vivid,
affecting, eccentrically stylish frame built around a
– New York Times Book Review
"Alt-comics veteran Tyler fully demonstrates her artistry in a book about her father’s WWII experiences, her childhood and present struggles raising her daughter, and her growing realization of war’s long-term effects on soldiers and their families." – BooklistTop 10 Graphic Novels
""C. Tyler's You'll Never Know, Book One: A Good and Decent Man... is also an impressive and beautiful history of the era; Tyler creates a panorama of images that sweep across the page as she documents her father's childhood, her parent's engagement, and her own young life. Her pen, ink, and color transform her creative panels (at times evoking a scrapbook) into vibrant memories intertwined by her restless imagination." – Adam Waterreus, Politics and Prose, "Favorite Graphic Literature of the Year"
"Tyler is a cartoonist who was trained as a painter first, and her memoir of learning about the World War II experiences that permanently changed her father leads with its indelible, majestically composed images. Compassionate but unsparing, this first of a projected three-book series tells one soldier's story in the context of his generation's silence." – Douglas Wolk, The Best Graphic Novels of 2009, The Barnes & Noble Review
"[C.] Tyler’s fluid, expressive linework, complemented by subtly overlaid watercolors, gives ideal visual expression to a narrative that’s at once sensitive and hard-nosed. This initial volume of a planned trilogy is Tyler’s first book-length effort, but decades of drawing mostly autobiographical stories have honed her skills, enabling her to produce a work that ranks in quality with the graphic memoirs of Alison Bechdel (Fun Home) and Marjane Satrapi (Persepolis)." - Gordon Flagg, Booklist (Starred Review)
“If you want to find out what happened to Willie and Joe after they got home from World War II, You’ll Never Know is the perfect place to start. C. Tyler’s graphic novel, passionately conceived and brilliantly drawn, extends the range of Bill Mauldin to cover the aftershock of the Last Good War on the warriors who fought it and the collateral damage to their families. Not since Catch-22 has anyone probed the secret heart of the Greatest Generation with this kind of raw, icon busting courage.” – Tom Mathews (Our Fathers’ War: Growing Up in the Shadow of the Greatest Generation)
“Her work has the extremely rare quality of genuine, authentic heart.” – R. Crumb
“She understands people with an acuity that is tender, wise and devastating.” – Jim Woodring