Authored and illustrated by London-based artist and writer Sarah Lightman, The Book of Sarah collects a lifetime of work, distilling thousands of diary-esque drawings, and dating all the way back to her days as an art undergrad in 1996. It ranges from oil drawings to charcoal etchings, but mostly consists of exquisitely detailed pencil sketches of everyday objects (a toothbrush, an egg tray, a bottle of surface cleaner) and the people and places that make up her past and present life.
Named after the biblical matriarch and Lightman’s namesake, the title eludes to the no shortage of tomes dedicated to men in the Bible, amongst an absence of any dedicated to women. But unlike the Book of Daniel or Esther, The Book of Sarah is not a biblical epic in the traditional sense, but a personal reflection on religion, family, motherhood and what it takes to be an artist – complete with its own Genesis, Exodus and Revelations. The Book of Sarah is Lightman’s attempt to carve out a space that is all her own.
Each drawing is annotated by Lightman’s own observations, together forming a tapestry of her life from a young girl in Hampstead to present day motherhood. Poetically poignant contemplations that, much like the book’s biblical namesake, can be drawn wisdom and opened on any page.
A beautiful, resonant, gallery of a graphic memoir, Lightman’s modern graphic tome had already pulled in significant praise as a landmark publication:
“Sarah Lightman’s beautiful début combines delicate artwork with a riveting narrative about being a daughter, becoming a mother, and learning how to be a person in the world. I loved this subtle memoir about Judaism, feminism, bad dates and good books, the families we are born into and the ones we make. Welcome The Book of Sarah to the graphic canon!” – Dr Ariela Freedman, Concordia University, and Segal award-winning author of Arabic for Beginners
“A stunning piece of work. The power of the book lies in the atmosphere created by a kind of distilled emotion in the words, alongside the very haunting images. The sense of place and associated emotions are very memorable.” – Dr Ann Miller, European Comic Art
“The real power in the work comes from Lightman’s wit and imagination, which has a lightness that belies the seriousness of the existential questions within.” – Nadia Valman and Rachel Garfield, Jewish Quarterly
Sarah Lightman will be doing talks and events throughout May which can be found on Myriad’s website, and her work will be exhibited at the Koppel Gallery until 4th May.
The Book of Sarah by Sarah Lightman is published 23rd May by Myriad Editions (9781908434517, h/b, £19.99)