"Curious, lonely, mournful, haunted, and strangely funny." —Leslie Jamison, author of the NYT bestseller The Empathy Exams
In her extraordinary graphic novel—which masterfully incorporates poetry and elements of memoir—Lauren Haldeman layers the warfare of soccer over the battlefields now called Bull Run Regional Park, where, growing up, her soccer team would practice and compete. The park and surrounding town of Fairfax Station Virginia set the landscape for the book, where the narrator regularly encounters spectral visions of wounded soldiers and very real artifacts of war— “wounded wraiths and faceless shapes” float in her hallway at night, and bullet shells, buttons, and human bones surface around the soccer fields in daylight. The narrator turns to poetry and history to make sense of the town and its bloodshed, of its forever attachment to injustice and its inability to restore erased identities. Team Photograph is a journey from research to illumination, and the result is a tender yet powerful reckoning of time and place, proof that the past and the present are inexorably fused together.
Lauren Haldeman is the author of Instead of Dying (winner of the 2017 Colorado Prize for Poetry), Calenday, and The Eccentricity is Zero. Her work has appeared in Poetry, Tin House, The Colorado Review, The Iowa Review, Fence and others. A graphic novelist and poet, she’s received an Iowa Arts Fellowship, a Sustainable Arts Foundation Award and visiting fellowships from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Carnegie Mellon University, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, and University of Cape Town, South Africa. You can find her online at http://laurenhaldeman.com.
"A stylish meditation on bookish inspiration."
"[H]ypnotic....This haunted and haunting work will linger in the minds of readers."
"Team Photograph occupies a liminal space between childhood and adulthood, knowing and forgetting, physical and spiritual, and narrative and poetry. . . . The past can be remembered or forgotten. . . . As Haldeman’s memoir shows, courage lies in facing the past and endeavoring to understand." —Lee Thomas, Los Angeles Review of Books
"'The ghosts, long ago, / came to me / to be seen.' The accuracy and openness with which Haldeman does this seeing is what makes her such a riveting visual artist and poet. . . . Team Photograph becomes a surreal American ghost story which, like memory, shifts and changes under a direct gaze—a memoir as patchwork as the fields of Virginia, unified by the confident sweep of Haldeman’s vision." —Colorado Review
"Melancholy yet powerful, Team Photograph is an intertwining of histories that ebbs and flows with ease. Combining graphic novel elements with poetry brings a cohesion that nods to the complexities of history without getting too muddy. It’s a quick read that you can pick up again and again, each time catching something new." —Little Village Magazine
"It’s morose and tender. . . its visuals lovely and poems often stunning. . . . I’m thankful for this thoughtful, melancholy, ultimately hopeful book." —Brady Alexander for Miracle Monocle
"Her graphic novel, Team Photograph, blends her personal history with historical research, poetry, and illustration to create a profound and moving experience." —Talk of Iowa
"Team Photograph unfurls like a dream half-remembered: snatches of surreal vulnerability punctured by lyric ruminations. This speaker's voice is curious, lonely, mournful, haunted, and strangely funny, all sinew and nerve endings, the opposite of bones—deeply interested in ghosts, and what they might want. This speaker knows the present is just a piece of threadbare cloth draped over the world, rubbed thin by time and longing, its gaps exposing all the histories we aren't done with, all the histories that aren't done with us." —Leslie Jamison, author of the NYT bestseller The Empathy Exams
“Soulful and visionary, Lauren Haldeman’s Team Photograph is more than just a story about ghosts. It’s an intimate excavation of personal and national history. An epic amalgam of graphic story, personal essay, historical reportage, poetry, creative process reflection, and archival analysis, Team Photograph exists at the intersection of jaw-dropping, formal possibility and profound personal seeking. A brilliant and original book from a wildly creative voice.” —Rachel Yoder, author of Nightbitch
“Private, public, historical, and ever-present, Team Photograph is a heart-breaking, haunted, intertextual, multidimensional, shape-shifting visitation that grieves intimately and in community with familial and national ghosts. Here Lauren Haldeman documents a raw American ghost story using every mode she has—visual, lyrical, material, and narrative—to map her own personal sorrow upon the multitudinous ineffable shared agony that is American history. Like all ghost stories, this is a book to read alone in the dark; but this is also a terrifying national story that demands to be drawn into the light.” —Robyn Schiff, author of A Woman of Property and Revolver
“This is the real-life ghost story of a girlhood haunted by histories individual, familial, regional, and national—histories made of found bones and lost brothers, stored in memories and textbooks, played out across new soccer fields and old battlegrounds. Brilliantly layering elements of graphic novel and lyric poetry, Lauren Haldeman invents something entirely her own. Equal parts collective reckoning, intimate narrative, and glittering journey into the astral plane, Team Photograph reminds us that all sport started as bloodsport and the past is something that lives not just behind or around but in us, as traceable as tree rings, as resonant as sound waves. Wildly imaginative and heartbreakingly restrained, this uncannily incisive book invites us into a kind of empathy that works like an enchantment, infiltrating time and space, making visible the invisible, retracing what was erased. The result is eerie and electrifying; I love this book.” —Lisa Olstein, author of Pain Studies and Late Empire
“Team Photograph is a deeply loving, deeply moving, original and strange thing of wonder, full of history both personal and national, an extraordinary look at loss and childhood, at once haunting and haunted. It is a book I have read many times and will return to again and again. Haldeman’s thoughts in poetry and prose, in line and color are uniquely wonderful. What a beautiful, brilliant book this is. I treasure it.” —Edward Carey, author of Little and The Swallowed Man
“With its mix of eye-popping visuals, impressionistic prose and poetic wordplay, this sui generis book blends memoir and historical nonfiction by bringing together Haldeman’s many talents.”