Nasher Reads: Fun Home | Nasher Museum of Art | Page: Literary Related | Indy Week
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Nasher Reads: Fun Home 

When: Wed., Aug. 12 2015

NASHER READS: FUN HOME

WEDNESDAY, AUG. 12, DURHAM

THE NASHER MUSEUM OF ART—Alison Bechdel's Fun Home is the first book I push on anyone I'm trying to convince of comics' literary merits. Yes, first—before Watchmen, The Sandman, Blankets or even Maus. It's Bechdel's autobiographical account of growing up in a funeral home with a closeted father (who is the focus of the book) and a remote mother (who stars in the follow-up, Are You My Mother?) while reckoning with her own emerging sexuality and crippling bouts of OCD. Bechdel, who first gained recognition for her long-running strip Dykes to Watch Out For, is a superlative cartoonist and writer with a coolly detached perspective, a precisely observant eye and a mordant sense of humor; think Lydia Davis with a dash of Proust. Fun Home brims with the kind of dramatic irony, between consecutive pictures or between pictures and words, which is only possible in sequential art. Bechdel draws documentary materials right onto the page, creating uncanny intimacy and layered verisimilitude. A very funny tell-all, this is also very much a tragedy—one that its author at once reinforces and holds at a remove by filtering it through mythological and literary archetypes. Bechdel is a brilliant reader of her own life. As a result, Fun Home (now also a Tony-winning Broadway musical) isn't just literary "for comics." It is literature. Join other Bechdel fanatics at the Nasher to discuss the book, or pick up a copy in the museum store to see what the fuss is about. 11 a.m., free,

2001 Campus Dr., Durham, 919-684-5135,

www.nasher.duke.edu. —Brian Howe

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