Singaporean creator Weng Pixin's vibrant Let's Not Talk Anymore began with a "big 'f*ck this, f*ck you!' kind of attitude" after one of her "many disputes and disagreements with [her] Mom." The work made her think more deeply about not just her mother, but her matrilineal ancestry. In sharing the genesis on her website, Weng explains how "comics became a place for me to imagine" their lives.
Five girls, distinguishable mostly by hairstyles, line up to grace the first page. A who's-who spread follows, with names and lineage displayed as five portraits on the left side, further elucidated on the right with each of the teens momentarily caught as 15-year-olds: great-grandmother Kuān in 1908, grandmother Mèi in 1947, mother Bīng in 1972, "Myself" Bǐ in 1998, imaginary daughter Rita in 2032. Individualized glimpses are presented in slice-of-life chapters for each of the girls, from Kuān to Rita, and repeated for four cycles. Weng creates her history and future while thoughtfully questioning roles of womanhood and motherhood. Kuān immigrated alone to Singapore from South China for her safety. Mèi was assaulted by her exploitative, adoptive mother's lover. Bīng's artistic dreams were overshadowed by her single mother's demands to help raise her younger brothers. Bǐ is an angry adolescent but appears as a near-perfect mother for Rita, who represents an idealized culmination of all her maternal ancestors.
Weng returns with her child-like characterizations, surrounded in vividly saturated backgrounds and landscapes she introduced in her 2020 debut, Sweet Time. Her narrative structure is intriguing, her stories moving--albeit, the younger two generations less so. What makes her book a standout, however is (again), her inventive, dazzling art. --Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon