When something is spoken of as a story that “could only be told through comics” it’s always going to pique our interest here at BF. That’s how Fantagraphics publisher Gary Groth describes Lee Lai’s Stone Fruit, debuting next year from the acclaimed publishing house. Fantagraphics have provided us with preview art of this summer 2021 launching book, along with full details in the press release below.
Fantagraphics To Publish Exciting Debut Stone Fruit by Lee Lai
MARCH 23, 2020—SEATTLE, WA—Fantagraphics is excited to announce the 2021 publication of Stone Fruit by debut cartoonist Lee Lai.
Lee Lai is one of the most exciting new voices to break into the comics medium. At the age of 27, Lai has created one of the most sophisticated graphic novel debuts in recent memory.
Stone Fruit is an ode to the love and connection shared between sisters.
Bron and Ray are a queer couple who enjoy their role as the fun weirdo aunties for Ray’s niece Nessie. Their bi-weekly playdates are little oases of wildness, joy, and ease in daily lives that ping-pong between familial tensions and isolation. As their emotional intimacy erodes, Ray and Bron turn to repair their broken family ties. Taking a leap of faith, each opens up to their respective sister and learns that they have more in common with their siblings than they ever knew. In time, the emptiness they feel after their break-up is supplanted with a deep sisterly love and understanding.
“I’ve been influenced by books and artists published by Fantagraphics since I was a teen, so it’s pretty unreal and amazing to be releasing this debut work with them,” explains Lee Lai. “There’s a handful of Australian cartoonists now who are part of the Fantagraphics family— some of us have been close since we were baby artists in Melbourne— and it’s been so cool watching their work grow with support from Fantagraphics. Working on this book has been such an exciting learning curve. I’m stoked to finally be putting it out into the world, and specifically with Fantagraphics.”
At turns joyful, tender, and heartbreaking, Lee Lai’s water colored graphic novel debut reveals how painful it can be to be vulnerable with your loved ones—and yet how fulfilling it is to be finally understood for who you are. “I was immediately impressed not only by what a penetrating, deeply felt, and intimate story Lee told, but by how stylistically sophisticated the drawing and the storytelling is,” says Fantagraphics Publisher, Gary Groth. “Lee’s story could only be told through comics, and the way she depicts these characters’ lives, in all their complexity, is a beautiful use of the medium. That’s one reason I admire her work as much as I do.”
Lee Lai was born in 1993 in Naarm (Melbourne), Australia. Currently, Lai makes comics and illustrations in Tio’tia:ke (Montreal, Quebec) where she lives with her roommates and two sweet cats. Her short story comics have been featured in The New Yorker, The Lifted Brow, Room Magazine, and Everyday Feminism. Stone Fruit is her graphic novel debut and has been sold in auction to 5 publishing houses in 4 different languages worldwide by agent Alessandra Sternfeld at AM-Book.
By Lee Lai