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The art of Simone Lia

July 28, 2013

The Tate Britain

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You can reach Simone on simone@simonelia.com

Please God, Find Me a Husband! by Simone Lia – review

Simone Lia’s neat and expressive drawings tell the tale of her divine quest for love with humour and sincerity

Please God, Find Me a Husband! by Simone Lia.

Please God, Find Me a Husband! by Simone Lia. Photograph: Simone Lia

Simone Lia’s new memoir-come-philosophical investigation is a singular piece of work, and it won’t be to everyone’s taste. In particular, I would hazard caution if you’re thinking of buying it as a present. No single woman I can think of, be she ever-so-happy or ever-so-desperate, is going to want to be given a book called Please God, Find Me a Husband!. Then again, all your smart aleck, Dawkins-loving new atheist friends are going to despise it too, because the deity of the title is not just another example of everyday blasphemy but central to the story. Lia is a Catholic – a devout one: the kind who goes to confession and has nuns for friends – and when she asks God to find her a husband, she really means it. Standing in the middle of Leicester Square, having recently been dumped by email, she looks up at the sky and says: “To cut to the chase, God, I’m going to be 34 in two weeks’ time and if you want me to marry someone you’re going to need to get a bit of a move on.” Does he reply? Not exactly. But she experiences, as people sometimes do, a kind of epiphany. She decides to go on an adventure with God.

  1. Please God, Find Me A Husband!
  2. by Simone Lia
  3. Buy the book
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How Lia pulls off what happens next without ever seeming a) repulsively pious or b) stark staring mad, I do not know. It’s partly her tone, which is inquiring and funny, but never hectoring; and partly it’s her drawings, so heart-stoppingly neat and expressive. Mostly, though, I think it’s down to the disarming feeling that creeps over you as her sincerity (not such a rare thing in comics as in some other realms, but still pretty rare these days) quietly hits home. Lia is a knowing artist – flirting with a riding instructor in the Australian outback, her self-portrait transmutes into a luscious drawing of Penélope Cruz – but she has a vulnerable innocence that puts you firmly on her side.

And what of her “adventure”? Well, she spends a fortnight in a nunnery, where she takes comfort in routine and quiet, and then she takes a trip to Oz in search of a hermit and a hunk (naturally, she tells her nun advisers only of her desire to find the former). Nothing dramatic happens, though she does get to play Operation – yes, I do mean the battery-operated game – with Jesus (and even the son of God, it seems, struggles when it comes to extracting the tricky spare rib). I must not reveal, here, whether her travels result in the bagging of a husband. But I will say that this is a brave and beautiful book, and Lia is lucky to have a publisher who, though he must secretly have longed for another volume of Fluffy (her 2007 hit about a talking bunny and the neurotic man it takes for its father), has allowed her so intimately to follow her heart.

 

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One Comment leave one →
  1. July 28, 2013 10:32 pm

    Reblogged this on ArtSite – Nick Garrett People Painter and commented:

    Simone Lia has the most subtle of angles…

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