BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

Sweet Time by Weng Pixin [in Shelf Awareness]

In Singaporean artist Weng Pixin’s striking debut graphic collection, Sweet Time, the connecting theme throughout is clarified in the fourth story, “Ballad,” using the commonly repeated “he loves me, he loves me not” refrain. As anonymous fingers peel a bloom’s petals, the panels flip between connection – “He loves me. He taps my hand, scoops it, reassures it” – and dis-/misconnect – “He loves me not. He never asks. He preaches.” Such joys and pains of love and loss filter through the majority of Weng’s vibrantly saturated shorts.

In “Birds,” a couple strolling to a nearby house with an extensive aviary overhears an expletive-laden lovers’ quarrel en route; their hand-in-hand exploration quickly devolves into a devastating realization that “We are not a good idea.” “Infatuation” recalls an unrequited childhood crush. “Roses” confronts the meaningless beauty of Garden of Eden-esque surroundings that induces separation between two nude lovers. In the eponymous “Sweet Time,” a woman gets drunk with a stranger at a bar, takes him home, and wakes up unsure what the new day might bring. Interwoven with affairs gone awry are quotidian travel diaries to diverse destinations, presented almost as interstitial reminders that between loving and losing, life continues while visiting friends, meeting locals, appreciating and recording other various meaningful experiences.

Explosive colors, unexpected landscapes, and graphic erotica define Weng’s uncommon style; her characterizations are often child-like and unpredictable. Her hand-lettering – in size and content – is visually sporadic, leaving many pages and panels potently wordless. Three times she maneuvers the orientation from horizontal to vertical, cleverly eliciting physical shifts in perspective. Beyond the intriguing stories, Weng’s art proves to be her majestic accomplishment.

Discover: Singaporean graphic artist Weng Pixin’s vibrant debut collection explores falling in and out of like, lust, and, most desperately, love.

Review: “Graphic Books,” Shelf Awareness, August 18, 2020

Readers: Adult

Published: 2020


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