Alison Bechdel is a badass. Her book Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic was my first experience with the graphic novel. To this day I remain blown away. Fun Home is a memoir that chronicles Bechdel’s relationship with her father and her attempt to understand his unexpressed homosexuality. The story unfolds like a Tarantino film; Bechdel describes her father’s suicide toward the beginning of the book and the rest of the 232 pages move back and forth in time, revealing details of her childhood and relationship with her father. The title refers to both the family’s funeral home business and their own Victorian house, which Bechdel’s father meticulously, even obsessively, restored throughout her childhood. Bechdel is a master storyteller, weaving text and image to create a profound landscape around queer issues, the coming-out process, and family dynamics.
Monday, April 23, at 9 AM at the U. of C., Bechdel will give a lecture on her work. The talk coincides with the opening of “Fevered Archives: 30 Years of Comics From the Not-So-Mixed-Up Files of Alison Bechdel,” an exhibition of her work at the Center for Gender and Race Studies. The show is part of a new series called Artists’ Salon. Bechdel is currently in residence at University of Chicago as a Mellon Fellow for Arts Practice and Scholarship. Her new book, Are You My Mother?, comes out May 1.
Mon 4/23, 9 AM, Center for Gender and Race Studies, University of Chicago, 5733 S. University Ave.