Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Rave on

In Salon, Douglas Wolk has a terrific write-up of Alison Bechdel's Fun Home; I'm going to come right out and say that it's my favorite book of the year so far.

The ideal way to read this might be: Don't look at any reviews (save DW's till afterward, as I did) — in fact, maybe don't even read the dustjacket. (Maybe don't even read this.) Go to the bookstore, and if the first few pages intrigue you, buy it, bring it home, and get ready to not put it down. (I was up way past one last night.)

I won't say anything else, except that it's totally brilliant, and by the end I was reminded of nothing so much as Maus. This seems hyperbolic, but I can't think of another example of autobiographical comix that's this powerful. Obviously I'm not drawing any equivalencies between the horrors of the Holocaust and what happens here; my point is that both books tell stories that can only exist in this medium—it's not just what happens, but how it's told. (And by that, I don't simply mean how it's drawn.) There's a lot of talk about considering comics as literature (whatever we can temporarily agree "literature" is) — I do a lot of such talk myself. But though I enjoy and admire a lot of comix, I sometimes worry that when it comes to long-form projects, only a few really go all the way and fulfill the medium's possibilities. (Surely I'm wrong and will think of dozens of good examples after I post this — Jimmy Corrigan! Black Hole! — so maybe let's say I'm going to limit this to explicitly autobiographical narratives. Am I missing something between Maus and Fun Home?)

More thoughts later, Dizzyheads — but really, this is not a book to miss.

* * *

Turn this off before the last chord.


Blogger Jenny Davidson said...

Now I can't wait to read this!

Did you read Phoebe Gloeckner's Diary of a Teenage Girl? I don't know that it's 'major' in the sense that these ones sound like they are, but I thought it was quite wonderful (it's an unusual novel/graphic novel hybrid, more novel than not but with tons of comix also).

12:34 AM  

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