Book Talk: Biscuits (Assorted) by Jenny Robins

I have so far never read a Myriad Editions graphic novel that I didn't like, so there's a spoiler for this review right in the first sentence! I am very lucky that Myriad are kind enough to send me copies of lots of their graphic novels, knowing how much I love reading them, and I was very excited to receive a copy of Biscuits (Assorted) by Jenny Robins, who was the winner of the Myriad First Graphic Novel Competition in 2018 with an extract from this book.

Biscuits (Assorted) is a gorgeous graphic novel telling the stories of many women in many different walks of life across London. The stories are separated into the four seasons and the book jumps around between different characters.

Each character's story is introduced with a picture of her climbing out of a cookie cutter, and all of the cookie cutters are the same, which I loved. It's showing that so many different people also have so much in common and it's a theme that runs throughout the book, whether we're reading about a supermarket worker or a burlesque dancer, there are commonalities of experience and their stories collide in unexpected ways.

As with all of Myriad's graphic novels, Biscuits is a beautiful book with gorgeous cover design but not all of the stories inside are beautiful stories. I love the way Jenny Robins slowly weaves strands of stories together so you see the whole picture. As I was reading the story of Maya, a woman who is always depicted on her phone on the bus, I was wondering when we were going to find out more about her, and actually the only way that we do is in the background of another characters' story. Some things in the book are huge and some are small - some small things seem huge and some huge things the characters treat as small, so that they become not really even the focus of the story. All of the stories are so separate yet also interwoven, coming together to form many strands of a larger tapestry and it feels very London as a novel really.

I think this year I've enjoyed stories about other people's day to day lives even more than I usually do, just because of the situation with the pandemic and lockdown and spending so much time at home. It's been really nice to think about how the world 'usually' works, and to get out of my own head and my own space and spend a little while in other people's!

As always, I hugely recommend checking out all of Myriad's graphic novels for a very wide range of subjects, authors and artistic styles. They never disappoint!


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