Forsyth Harmon with E.J. Koh
New York-based writer and illustrator Forsyth Harmon tells her cathartic coming-of-age fictional narrative, Justine (Tin House), in striking words and image. Summer boredom and ennui, playing itself out in a Long Island suburban setting, lights up when one adolescent young woman is entirely smitten by another. All that might happen ....
“Punctuated by the spare and elegant line drawings (an attenuated ankle here, a stout can of Diet Coke there), Forsyth Harmon’s Justine is a novel both universal (who didn’t have an unhealthily intimate best-friendship in high school?) and also highly specific (if you also remember Bridget Hall’s late-’90s Ralph Lauren ads, hello). Ali is in high school, unhappy at home, where she lives with her cat and her TV-loving grandmother, and pretty instantly infatuated with Justine, her beautiful, impossibly cool coworker at the Stop & Shop. Their friendship has the same fuzzy electric quality as doing whip-its—the high is only a little less fleeting. Harmon depicts this heady time of life with an exquisite tenderness, a clarity that can only come from distance, and a sensitivity to this most formative part of our lives, when both nothing and everything seem possible all at once.”—Refinery29.
“Devastatingly attuned to the longing, loathing, and eroticism that can run between two teenage girls.”—Hermione Hoby.
Forsyth Harmon’s illustrations have also appeared in The Art of the Affair and Melissa Febos’ Girlhood. With Forsyth Harmon in conversation this evening will be Seattle writer and poet EJ Koh, whose recent, acclaimed memoir, The Magical Language of Others, is its own powerful recounting of a period of adolescence.