Alison Bechdel's Fun Home was a literary phenomenon: 'an extraordinarily intimate account of family secrets that manages to be shocking, unsettling and life-affirming at the same time', as Sarah Walters wrote in the Guardian. The Times said it was 'incontestibly the graphic book of the year', while the Observer recently chose it as one of the ten best graphic novels ever published.
While Fun Home explored Bechdel's relationship with her father, a closeted homsexual, this new memoir is about her mother - a voracious reader, a music lover, a passionate amateur actor. Also a woman, unhappily married to a gay man, whose artistic aspirations simmered under the surface of Bechdel's childhood... and who stopped touching or kissing her daughter goodnight, for ever, when she was seven. Poignantly, hilariously, Bechdel embarks on a quest for answers concerning the mother-daughter gulf.
It's a richly layered search that leads readers from the fascinating life and work of psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott to one explosively illuminating Dr Seuss illustration, to Bechdel's own (serially monogamous) love life. And, finally, back to Mother - to a truce, fragile and real-time, that will move and astonish all adult children of gifted mothers.
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Are You My Mother? is a work of the most humane kind of genius, bravely going right to the heart of things: why we are who we are. It's also incredibly funny. And visually stunning. And page-turningly addictive. And heartbreaking. -
As absorbing as it is graced with a deceptive lightness of touch, it is clever, brilliantly pieced together, and utterly unusual. - Sunday Times
One of the chief pleasures of this book is how the words and pictures collaborate to gesture at a territory that neither might reach alone. - Telegraph
Many of us are living out the unlived lives of our mothers. Alison Bechdel has written a graphic novel about this, sort of like a comic book by Virginia Woolf. You won't believe it until you read it - and you must! -
Pure bliss. - Observer
Bechdel’s engaging, original graphic memoir explores her troubled relationship with her distant mother. - New York Times
A complex, fascinating and intellectually rich memoir. - Metro
Very original and arresting. - Spectator
Throughout, there are magnificent feats of connectivity, startlingly complex internal monologues that unfold with perfect simplicity… I haven’t encountered a book about being an artist, or about the punishing entanglements of mothers and daughters, as engaging, profound or original as this one in a long time. - Scotsman
Lively, fresh and expressive…humane, complex and beautiful. - Irish Times
Don’t let the cartoons fool you, this is an exciting and intelligent book and, at many points, highly moving. It doesn’t just tell Alison’s story, Are You My Mother? allows to you to think about your own. - Emerald Street
Find everything this author has written. Every jot she makes on the paper enriches the baroque, painful, exhilarating story she has to tell. - Scotsman
Alison Bechdel is the author of the bestselling memoir Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, which was named a Best Book of the Year by Time, Entertainment Weekly, the New York Times, and People among others. For twenty-five years, she wrote and drew the comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For, a visual chronicle of modern life - queer and otherwise - considered 'one of the pre-eminent oeuvres in the comics genre.' Alison Bechdel is guest editor of Best American Comics, 2011, and has drawn comics for Slate, McSweeney's, Entertainment Weekly, Granta, and the New York Times Book Review.