Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Fun Home- A Family Tragicomic [a book i enjoyed reading]

Akshara gave me a graphic novel Fun Home- A Family Tragicomic. A graphic novel, something I haven’t read for years, and I completed it in two days. Well, it’s a graphic novel, so if you actually sit and read it at a stretch, it should take you just about a couple of hours or slightly more.

The book is by Alison Bechdel (cartoonist, writer and archivist of her own life) and is highly autobiographical in nature. Quite interestingly, she does not even change any of the names of the characters. The book is about her entire life and her interaction with her father. More than her own coming to terms with being a lesbian, the book portrays an Alison who has to come to terms with various events in her life that culminate into a re-examination of all those proceedings when she finds out that her father has had relationships with young men throughout his life. The narrative threads through her father’s death (a suicide?) and keeps going back and forth into her past and she reviews her family life in the light of her father’s death and his (homo)sexuality.

The tone is funny, light, comic, and insightful, with regular references to Proust, Joyce, Camus and Colette amongst many others. With constant allusions to a wide range of authors, philosophers and with contemporary events of her youth as well, Bechdel actually goes back to the journal she’s been keeping since she was ten. Her memoir thus offers a graphic narrative of rare richness, psychological complexity and depth and literary resonance. The graphics and the narrative merge beautifully to allow enjoyment as well as deeper understanding of various nuances.

Quite interestingly, Alison Bechdel chronicles a comic strip named Dykes to Watch Out For!! (http://dykestowatchoutfor.com)

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