Leslie Stein's I Know You Rider: In stores now!
Leslie's work drew me in from the moment I first encountered it, with her original series Eye of the Majestic Creature. Here was this woman character around my age, who loved to drink wine and spend time alone pondering life's questions. Her fascination with the natural world, her satisfaction with being a solo human moving through it. Her work felt so positive and celebratory, without ever feeling forced. The sincerity of it made it all work in such a heartwarming and enjoyable way. This character was so fun! Her character—let's be real, it's just Leslie—was a hoot to spend time with.
Her work has evolved and shifted over the years—from heavily stippled and labored-over tight ink work to looser, less defined characters and dreamy watercolors. But the essence of it all—the lightness, the humor, the refusal not to take the time to acknowledge beauty—still remains its driving force. And thank goodness for that. I think it's safe to say we all need it now more than ever!
Her latest book—I Know You Rider—which is on sale now (please buy from your local indie or through bookshop.org or directly from our website!!!) is all of these things. And though her work is always personal, this time we get a more intimate peek as we see a complete year of her life, which includes an abortion and all the questions and conversations surrounding reproductive rights that this inevitably prompts.
We see Leslie herself, sure of her decision but of course imagining that alternate life where there's be a baby on the way. She chats with a friend about the environmental implications of her new twins. And another friend who's just had a vasectomy. And then there's her own mother—desperately longing for a grandchild. All set against a New York City landscape, where Leslie walks through parks and sees nature reproducing and blossoming around her. Throughout it all, true to character, we don't see a woman steeped in regret (it's a not a classic will-she-won't-she abortion narrative), we see a woman moving forward, thriving, and taking the time to acknowledge all the beautiful things that were able to enter her life because of the choice she made—a choice she was able to make, at a time when that right feels more under threat than ever.
What an honor to have published this work <3