Was She Pretty?

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2/2/2016
  • Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly Pubns

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A dreamy exploration of relationships and jealousy . . . pithy and deadpan . . . It's no self-help book." --Salon

What's left when a relationship ends? Where does jealousy come from? Delicately and sensitively, Leanne Shapton (Swimming Studies) ruminates on ex-lovers, and our lovers' ex-lovers. A few expressive pencil lines outline a long-abandoned winter coat here, an ineffably alluring Mona Lisa smile there. Each double page describes the way all exes are captured: as impossible to live up to as a Polaroid taken at a flattering angle.

This new paperback edition of Was She Pretty? brings the reader deep into a circle of phantoms: its intimate liaisons, embarrassing secrets, and sardonic anecdotes. Shapton introduces the obsessives and the dilettantes, the poets and the actresses, the people with great hair and the people with idiosyncratic clothes. As funny as it is insightful, Was She Pretty? speaks to a central human concern: How do we compare? Elegantly drawn and perfectly narrated, the pages of Was She Pretty? are a testimonial to the power of observation and misapprehension.

Author Biography

Leanne Shapton, an illustrator, author, and publisher based in New York City, is a cofounder of J&L Books. She has been the art director of the National Post's Avenue page and Saturday Night magazine, and from 2008 to 2009 was also the art director for the New York Times Op-Ed page. Shapton is the author of six books: Toronto; Was She Pretty?; Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion, and Jewelry; Native Trees of Canada; Swimming Studies, which won the 2013 NBCC Award for Autobiography; and Sunday Night Movies. She most recently coauthored Women in Clothes along with Sheila Heti and Heidi Julavits.

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