Patremoir Tweet Summary #4: Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

Fun Home by Alison Bechdel (Houghton Mifflin 2006)

As Art Spiegelman proved with Maus, father memoirs can take graphic narrative form. Courageously original and lovingly honest, Fun Home is a coming of age story–a story of lesbian self-discovery–which also outs the father posthumously as a closeted gay man and a possible suicide. In intertwining her father’s story with her own, Bechdel is conscious of being as ruthless as her father was in “his monomaniacal restoration of our old house.” She, too, is a Daedalus, who answers “not to the laws of society, but to those of [her] craft.” Profoundly personal, Fun Home is also mythic. From the opening page onward, it is a rich affirmation of Stephen Daedalus’s closing words in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man: “Welcome, O life, I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race. Old father, old artificer, stand me now and ever in good stead.” This affirmation is triumphantly validated by “the tricky reverse narration” of Fun Home‘s final panels, in which Bechdel’s artistically resurrected, epic father is there to catch and save her child self.

Fun Home tweets:

I was Spartan to my father’s Athenian. Modern to his Victorian. Butch to his Nelly. Utilitarian to his aesthete.
15 Jan

Although I’m good at enumerating my father’s flaws, it’s hard for me to sustain much anger at him.
14 Jan

And in a way, you could say that my father’s end was my beginning.
13 Jan

When I think about how my father’s story might have turned out differently, a geographical relocation is usually involved
12 Jan

The idea that my vital, passionate father was decomposing in a grave was ridiculous.
11 Jan

[My father] was an alchemist of appearance, a savant of surface, a Daedalus of decor.
10 Jan

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