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Zine Review:

The East Village Inky

Loose and digressive but never haphazard, this issue of Ayun Halliday’s long-running quarterly is a keenly observed account of the author’s anxious navigation of the New York public middle school system, which her daughter (after whom the zine is named) will soon be entering. Every page, including the cover, is dense with text, all handwritten, but the Inky is so well laid out and cleanly executed as to make most computer-assisted zines look thrown together. This seeming effortlessness is the upshot of years of zine-making, an easy competence that also characterises Halliday’s writing (she has written numerous books, one of which comes with an endorsement from Stephen Colbert). Halliday’s tale of bureaucracy and endurance is punctuated by her idiosyncratic illustrations of middle school tours and related interactions with other parents. These drawings tend to capture her at her most uncomfortable and self-aware: one features a neighbour who laments in broken English the high percentage of black students at her child’s middle school, while Halliday desperately tries to hide her horror and decide how best to respond. To some readers, this issue may seem like 40 pages of reasons not to raise children in New York, but Halliday is such a sharp, distinctive guide that the ordeal is engaging throughout.(Daniel Marrone)

zine, Ayun Halliday, issue #37, $3,, Brooklyn, NY, 11202, USA


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