Dominique Goblet’s Pretending Is Lying

Page detail from Dominique Goblet’s Pretending Is Lying (New York Review Comics, 2017).

Pretending Is Lying, by Dominique Goblet; translated by Sophie Yanow. New York: New York Review Comics, 2017. 149 pages.

THE RAW EMOTION of Pretending Is Lying, a memoir by the Belgian cartoonist Dominique Goblet, is already hinted at in the book’s introductory story. A child—the author as a young girl—is injured in a tumble on the sidewalk and tended to in a moment of parental magic: Goblet’s mother instantly repairs the torn knees of her daughter’s stockings by having Goblet simply put them on backward. The winsome anecdote ends brightly, but the strip is rendered in sharp red lines that resemble the hot marks of a recent scar. If the mother’s sleight of hand qualifies as an act of pretending, then, given the title’s declaration, it’s also an act of deceit. This scene, the reader discovers, is the only happy interaction in the book.

The equivalence of fanciful and false

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