Edmund White has authored many novels, including the classic coming of age story, A Boy’s Own Story. Over 40 years later, it is being adapted as a graphic novel by co-writers Brian Alessandro and Michael Carroll and artist Igor Karash. Edmund White’s A Boy’s Own Story: The Graphic Novel brings the struggles of sexual identity as well as the difficulty of being a child from a broken family and seeking love in an anything-but-stable world.
Originally published in 1982, the semi-autobiographical novel takes place in the Midwest of the 1950s and is widely recognized for its pioneering portrayal of homosexuality and its unprecedented contribution to the “literature of empowerment that grew out of the Stonewall riots and subsequent gay rights era.”
As a reader, I found the graphic novel both piercingly personal in mere moments, as the opening pages are a reflection of what is to come throughout the whole book. There are periods of raw vulnerability told through a narrator’s innermost thoughts paired with painted art that evoke a dreamlike feeling of distant familiarity.
As the novel transports readers throughout the different periods in the protagonist’s life, a restlessness will grow that is similar to the main character of this story, as it is a feeling of wanting to find comfort and peace in a life that has made both those things feel hard to come by.
Edmund White’s A Boy’s Own Story: The Graphic Novel is out on January 3rd from Top Shelf Productions.
About the Creative Team
EDMUND WHITE is the author of many novels, including A Boy’s Own Story, The Beautiful Room Is Empty, The Farewell Symphony, and Our Young Man. His nonfiction includes City Boy, Inside a Pearl, and other memoirs; The Flâneur, about Paris; and literary biographies and essays. He was named the winner of the 2018 PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction and is the recipient of the 2019 National Book Award Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. His most recent novels are A Saint from Texas (2020) and A Previous Life (2021).
BRIAN ALESSANDRO is a writer, artist, and filmmaker. His work has appeared in Newsday, Interview Magazine, Bloom Magazine, PANK, Huffington Post, Turtle Point Press, Lambda Literary, Edmund White: By the Book, and (Re) An Ideas Journal. His illustrations have been exhibited in juried shows in New York City; Tucson,Arizona; and Irvine, California; and have been featured in Exquisite Pandemic and Conception Art. He has also written and directed the feature film, Afghan Hound (Maryea Media), which has streamed on Amazon and Netflix.In 2016, he founded and continues to edit The New Engagement, a literary journal that has released two print issues and eighteen online issues. His debut novel, The Unmentionable Mann (Cairn Press), was published in 2015. He has been twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize and the Independent Book Publisher Association Best New Voice Award. He holds an MA in clinical psychology from Columbia University and has taught the subject at the high school and college levels for over ten years.
MICHAEL CARROLL won the 2015 Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters for his debut collection, Little Reef and Other Stories. His second collection, Stella Maris and OtherKey West Stories, was published in 2019.
IGOR KARASH is an illustrator based in Saint Louis, Missouri, though originally from Baku, Azerbaijan. Karash’s illustration work is diverse and includes picture books, classic literature, novels, and concept art for theater and film. Karash develops a visual language unique to each project and transforms the reading experience with his novel visual contributions. Karash’s work has been recognized by numerous prestigious illustration competitions including the House of illustration, Folio Society, and AOI Awards in London. Karash’s work has also been featured in Lürzer Archive’s 200 Best Illustrators Worldwide; American Illustration 32, 34, and 38; Graphis; 3×3 Magazine; and the Society of Illustrators 61st and 63rd annual and exhibit. Karash’s illustrator profile is a part TASCHEN’s The Illustrator: 100 Best from Around the World edition curated by Steven Heller and Julius Wiedemann.
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