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Transitions: A Mother’s Journey Coming From Top Shelf

Élodie Durand explores gender identity and family dynamics in Transitions: A Mother’s Journey

Based on true events, Transitions is an emotional, informative, and ultimately affirming book, perfect for allies seeking to support transgender loved ones. It is scheduled for release in November.

Award-winning graphic novelist Élodie Durand (Parenthesis) achieves a new landmark in nonfiction comics with Transitions: A Mothers Journey. A sympathetic and moving story of a family’s journey to acceptance, Transitions is translated for English-speaking audiences for the first time by Evan McGorray, and will be published by Top Shelf Productions in November 2023.

In Transitions, university biologist Anne Marbot learns that the 19-year-old she raised as “Lucie” is a transgender man named Alex. Struggling to understand her son’s new identity, she’s overwhelmed by questions. How can this be? Who put these ideas in your head? What if you regret it? Am I overreacting? How will your grandparents react? Why didn’t I see it coming? Why is this so easy for others? Am I a bigot? What does gender really mean, anyway? How can I be the parent my child needs? The news of her child’s transition hits Anne like a tidal wave, sweeping away all her certainties and the comfort of her tidy life.

It soon becomes clear that Alex is not the only one embarking on a journey of self-discovery. The road is not easy, and sometimes their relationship is bitterly strained. But Alex is sure of himself, and Anne is determined to be strong for his sake. With time, she too will be transformed, rediscovering her identity as a mother in profound new ways.

“When I met Anne, there was no resource in France for parents living through the transition of their child,” says cartoonist Élodie Durand. “Anne felt powerless to understand or support her son. She had this desire to bear witness for others, to find a way to help.” Thus Durand was invited to adapt Anne’s experience into Transitions. “As I began to research the issues, it was like a relief for me to explore the role of gender in our private and public lives,” continues Durand. “It became clear that gender is a concern for us all — that this intimate story is also the story of every family.”

With grace and sensitivity, Transitions captures the unique journey of well-meaning loved ones who struggle to reconcile new gender identities with their old assumptions. Deeply researched and drawn from the family’s true experience, this captivating graphic novel is a must-read companion for allies and families navigating trans issues and a compassionate roadmap to acceptance.

“Creating this book,” says Durand, “involved many challenges: being fair, respecting everyone’s word, taking into account the complex feelings of Anne and Alex, and those around them.” At the book’s conclusion, Alex himself shares his own perspective in a six-page scene.

“Translating Anne and Alex’s story was a moving experience that I cherish deeply,” says Evan McGorray. “I was brought to tears as I translated Alex’s letter to his mother at the end. As a trans nonbinary person with trans friends and family members, I have witnessed so many different positive and negative reactions from parents to the trans experience. A mother’s perspective is complex, often challenging, and Élodie Durand allows the reader to put themself in Anne’s shoes. There is such beauty in her storytelling, fact-presenting, and artwork, and it was an honor to provide the English translation for such a seminal work for parents and loved ones.”

“The world needs this book now more than ever,” says Top Shelf senior editor Leigh Walton. “Friends and family who are navigating the gender transition of a loved one may first be struck by feelings of confusion, concern, or even grief. Those feelings are real and a place to start — but the story must not end there. By documenting this journey in public, warts and all, Anne Marbot and Élodie Durand offer a helping hand to allies everywhere and a beautiful path from disbelief to passionate support.”

“Looking back, I am still surprised that the journey was so long and winding,” reflects Anne Marbot. “Today, I simply say: Alex is my son.”

“Today, when disinformation, bigotry, and malicious politicians are attacking transgender people from all sides, books like Transitions can directly counteract such hatred,” continues McGorray, the translator. “I hope Transitions will be a call to action and will inspire allies to educate themselves — something that should not be the sole burden of trans individuals. I dream of the day when the trans community can live without fear, and I know that Transitions will bring the world one day closer to trans freedom, equity, and liberation.”

Transitions: A Mother’s Journey
By Élodie Durand
Published by Top Shelf Productions, an imprint of IDW Publishing
ISBN 978-1-60309-518-1
$19.99 US / $26.99 CAN
A 176-page full-color graphic novel
Softcover with flaps, 7.75” x 10.25”
On-Sale: November 2023

Transitions: A Mother’s Journey will be available everywhere books and comics are sold, and can be pre-ordered now. For more details and pre-order options, visit Penguin Random House or visit www.comicshoplocator.com to find a store near you.

An artist and illustrator for both children and adults, Élodie Durand has been working for over 15 years. She graduated from the School of Decorative Arts of Strasbourg and the University of Paris VIII. After debuting with the international award-winning graphic memoir La Parenthèse, she has also drawn the children’s series Les grandes années, among other projects. In 2021, Top Shelf published Parenthesis as her English-language debut, which won the inaugural Graphic Medicine Award and was named one of the American Library Association’s Best Graphic Novels for Adults.

Evan McGorray is a non-binary translator based in Cleveland, Ohio who specializes in queer Francophone stories and the intersections of language and gender. They enjoy reading and translating works which celebrate and explore the full depths of the trans experience. Among other graphic novels, they are the translator of Catherine Castro & Quentin Zuttion’s Call Me Nathan (SelfMadeHero, 2022).

June 29, 2023
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