by Rachel Ang
Winner of the Silver Ledger 2019 for excellence in Australian comics.
68 pages, Perfect Bound, 12.5cm x 17cm, 2 colour risograph insides, 3 colour risograph cover.
Jenny catches up with a former flame at the local pool. The sun is bright and casts dark shadows in the water. There is violence even in this mundane place - a whirlpool through which Jenny swims, even as it pulls her under.
Rachel Ang is a Melbourne-based comics artist. Her comics and illustrations have been published widely, including by The Lifted Brow, Going Down Swinging, The Stella Prize and Cordite Poetry Review. She is a Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellow for 2018. She is the co-editor of Comic Sans, a new serialised anthology of Australian comics with a focus on real life and fresh voices. She holds a Masters Degree in Architecture from RMIT University. This is her first book.
Praise for Swimsuit:
“Rachel Ang’s Swimsuit is sensitive & subtle & a little bit devastating. The tender attention she gives to her details - the shadow of a lamp post, a glance, or a pregnant pause - illustrates a brief but rich encounter that should be read multiple times”
- Lee Lai
“There’s a space between the last thing we said, and the next thing we’re going to say… This comic, like the best short fiction, draws our attention to that place.”
- Pat Grant
'Swimsuit' was awarded The Silver Ledger 2019 for excellence in Australian comics.
"I think Rachel Ang’s Dream Diary is wonderful, but then i got to Swimsuit and found it even more accomplished. The art in Swimsuit may not be physically realistic, but we can see from Happy Valley and Dream Diary that this is not because Rachel is unable to draw in the style. She’s choosing not to. What i’d ask everyone to consider instead is the *emotional* realism she is achieving. Look what she’s doing with her linework. From just the tilt of a head, or a gaze held across panels, she tells us so much about the main characters crush on her friend, of which he is blithely oblivious. Ang doesn’t need dialogue to do any of this, though she then wields dialogue like a scalpel to deepen the wounds. That’s impressive cartooning. I think the storytelling is also thematically very complex and subtle as it paints this initial idea about the lack of empathy between two people and then turns it back on the main character by her inaction in the face of the bullying she witnesses at the pool. Unlike Dream Diary, in Swimsuit, Ang is submitting herself to the requirements of narrative for structure and resolution and point of view - it’s a lot more demanding, and she succeeds in creating this wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing of a story, that has something real to say about human interactions, and which stuck in my mind for weeks after reading."
- Lucas Testro
"Rachel has been honing her craft for years, and this book is the fruit of her development. Beautiful, heartfelt, well-paced, this book isn’t afraid to take it’s time to get where it’s going, and i savoured every moment. A strong, bold work from a talent moving from the developing stage to maturing."
- Brendan Halyday