A little girl's obsession with sharks, intricately illustrated and beautifully wrought by Evie Wyld . Filled with all the stickiness of summer and the constant fear of what lurks beneath the lovely-looking surface of the water, this book captures all the dread and shimmery weirdness of my Australian childhood.— Madeleine
When she was a little girl, passing her summers in the heat of coastal Australia, Evie Wyld was captivated by sharks—by their innate ruthlessness, stealth, and immeasurable power—and they have never released their hold on her imagination. From the award-winning author of All the Birds, Singing, here is a deeply moving graphic memoir about family, love, loss, and the irresistible forces that, like sharks, course through life unseen, ready to emerge at any moment.
Black-and-white illustrations throughout.
About the Author
EVIE WYLD’s first novel, After the Fire, a Still Small Voice, won the John Llewellyn Rhys prize and a Betty Trask Award; her second, All the Birds, Singing, won the Miles Franklin Literary Award, the European Union Prize for Literature, and the Encore Award for best second novel. She has also been short-listed for the Orange Award for New Writers, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. In 2013 she was named one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists. She lives in London, where she runs the Review bookshop.
JOE SUMNER is a London-based model maker and illustrator. Everything Is Teeth is his first book.
“A lyrical reminiscence of Wyld’s youthful fixation of sharks . . . To read their collaboration is to experience Sumner’s artwork at least as much as Wyld’s spare, reflective narration.” —New York Times Book Review
“The darkly poetic voice Wyld evoked in her previous work reveals itself in a different way here, working within the constraints of writing text for a cartoon frame . . . The very terseness required here offers power, linguistic clarity and dramatic opportunities that draw the reader into an emotionally compelling world . . . The obvious touchstone is Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home, and Wyld likewise delivers an incisive portrait of a father who provides a forceful foil for the main character . . . The power of the prose in Everything Is Teeth is magnified by Joe Sumner’s illustrations, which combine primitive yet delicate portraits of the girl and her surroundings with viciously realistic renderings of sharks swimming through the pages . . . The narrator’s fears, and her ultimate triumph over them, make for a magical trip into a world that we’re happy to glimpse from the shore.”
—Jean Zimmerman, NPR.org
“Wyld’s memories of her childish point-of-view ring incredibly true: the huge jumps to conclusion and outsize fears; the awareness of only snippets of what’s happening in the adult world; the veneration she holds for a famous attack survivor. Some things, like sharks and gory photos of victims post-attack, Sumner has sketched so precisely they appear photographic, while young Evie, her family, and the ocean itself remain appealingly, cartoonishly simple, rendered in high-contrast with washes of pale yellow and, of course, bursts of blood red. That simplicity, coupled with Wyld’s crisp, deliberate writing and provocative omissions, stirringly evokes both childhood fears of catastrophe and fascination with the macabre . . . This unique graphic memoir is mesmerizing.”
—Booklist *starred review*
“A graphic memoir that proceeds like a young girl’s powerfully disturbing dream, which continues to resonate through her waking hours . . . A rite-of-passage memoir that has powerful poetry in its ellipses.”
—Kirkus *starred review*
“A lovely memoir . . . Powerful . . . A poignant, understated look into the anxiety of childhood, singular and memorable.”
“A heartfelt and haunting memoir, written with beauty and verve . . . A stunningly rendered juxtaposition of past and present, life and death . . . A chomp out of your heart.”
—The Irish Times
“A moving, heartfelt, original book in which the interior world of the imagination is more real than the external world. This is an inalienably truthful quality of childhood and Sumner has rendered it beautifully . . . Sumner’s artwork is wondrous, the perfect visual correlative to Wyld’s spare lyricism . . . In both words and pictures, the unsaid/unseen churns powerfully underneath . . . In these times of culturally sanctioned self-absorption and self-promotion, it is remarkable how an autobiographical—I stress this—book can enact a movement away from the self and become the repository of so much humility . . . How did she do it?”
—Neel Mukherjee, Independent
“Wyld’s first two novels are taut, minimalist works of sparse beauty exploring loss and loneliness, and although she is using a different form here, Everything Is Teeth is their natural successor . . . The story reveals more of Wyld’s gift for vignette, and her laser focus on the tiny moments of sadness that can shape our lives . . . The implicit narrative of family difficulties becomes itself like a shark, with Wyld’s prose the sinister fin on the surface, the weight of words left unsaid supported by the driving force of Sumner’s illustrations . . . Quietly devastating.”
“In Everything Is Teeth, a crazily evocative graphic memoir about Wyld’s shark-infested childhood, words and pictures are in perfect harmony, the joins between them so seamless you could almost be watching an old black-and-white film . . . A partnership made in heaven . . . What a fantastic book this is.”
“Sharks cruise menacingly across the pages of this subtle and evocative autobiography . . . Wyld uses her signature oblique style to excellent effect in conjuring up a child’s world of everyday nightmares . . . It is genuinely terrifying.”
“Eerily intimate . . . Wyld’s frank, suspenseful, charming, and often poetic musings, mirrored by Joe Sumner’s delicately abstract and violently realistic cartoons encompass childhood anxieties beyond sharks . . . Though obviously different in style, content, and context, Everything Is Teeth is a graphic family memoir along the lines of artist-writer Art Spiegelman’s Pulitzer Prize–winning Maus. Alternately darkly comic and just plain dark, Sumner’s mostly black-and-white illustrations add a cool, dreamlike quality to Wyld’s words.”
—The Sydney Morning Herald
“Remarkable . . . A perceptive coming-of-age memoir with real bite . . . Wyld’s visceral, elliptical storytelling and laconic lyricism perfectly convey a childlike perspective . . . Everything Is Teeth resonate[s] with our need for stories—real and fanciful, personal and universal, tangible and ephemeral—to help us make sense of the world . . . with immense style and substance.”