My first immersive experience in a complete book of poetry in a loooooooong time. Very powerful with many moments of amazingly beautiful language andMy first immersive experience in a complete book of poetry in a loooooooong time. Very powerful with many moments of amazingly beautiful language and images (all the more so because describing sometimes very ugly scenes of racism and violence); some (deceptively) simple, and others much more complex and layered, elusive and impenetrable - but no less enjoyable for it. Recurring themes and images that made the journey from poem to poem, and from section to section, tell a larger story. ...more
I felt like I was reading this slowly - although clearly not, as I finished in two-three days or so. And even tho' I was processing throughout and aftI felt like I was reading this slowly - although clearly not, as I finished in two-three days or so. And even tho' I was processing throughout and after each section, I still feel that I need another five reads to get all of what Bechdel is saying here.
Still. It's a tour de force which I'm sure I just read in one of the excellent reviews; either jo's; simon's; or moira's (and I'm sure there are many more).
It's rich, complex, brave, stunning in its scope and depth. Multi-layered, dense and difficult - especially if you are new, as I am, to the psychoanalytic constructs explored and used as entry points and illustrations of Bechdel's experiences and relationships to her self, her mother, her work, her lovers, her analysis. etc etc.
And so, I got maybe 20% of it. But even that is enough to recognize how brilliant it is - and I am still amazed not least by the way this form (graphic novel) can say SO MUCH, as much as my beloved novels, as much as To The Lighthouse which is another layer of the story; another theme, and which I can now re-read and maybe, hopefully understand better and embrace.
Despite my own somewhat fraught experience with Woolf, that should be read as pretty high praise: Bechdel and Woolf. Working at the same level to explore uncover share expand people's understanding of [women's] lived emotional, psychic experiences. Laying themselves bare to do so.
And you [I] just need to be a little bit courageous to accept the gift they are offering. ...more
Shatteringly and heart-wrenchingly good. Three things I don't generally read (or don't read enough of maybe?): graphic novels, memoirs, lesbian fictioShatteringly and heart-wrenchingly good. Three things I don't generally read (or don't read enough of maybe?): graphic novels, memoirs, lesbian fiction. All three of these walls come tumbling down in this. The depth of feeling and thought, the honesty, is extraordinary, and to have it conveyed in graphic novel form is a little--no, a lot--mind-blowing. (In addition to the clarity and beauty of her writing, Bechdel is a *fantastic* graphic artist). (Perhaps) more thoughts to come after Are You My Mother....more
Excellent. I'm in the minority on this one vis-à-vis Waters' Fingersmith, because I like The Paying Guests so much better for reasons that have to doExcellent. I'm in the minority on this one vis-à-vis Waters' Fingersmith, because I like The Paying Guests so much better for reasons that have to do with how well the lesbian theme was integrated with the other themes in the novel - class and gender relationships, the great cultural shift that led to women's emancipation in post-WWI England (and elsewhere) and the main plot twist of Part 2.
I thought Frances exquisitely rendered. I thought her relationship with her mother (a hold-out Victorian) absolutely brilliant - so subtle, so fraught, so nuanced. I thought the graphic scenes of a) sex and b) violence also, equally, exquisite not just for the surface detail, but also for the psychological underpinnings.
It's kind of amazing what Waters has done here: she's created this fast-moving plot while imbuing every scene with rich detail; despite weighing in at a hefty 576 pages, it never bogs down. And the broad strokes with which she plots are matched by the greatest level of subtlety in the human relationships, with characters whose inner workings and complex thought processes, shifting loyalties, fickle attractions, retractions, hesitations and vacillations, feel so very human. At the same time, Waters never veers too far away from her big themes and the cultural milieu, she just chooses to explore them through the individuals who are living, loving, dying; working or unable to work; coping with their downfalls, disappointments and grief as best they can.
The twists and turns (view spoiler)[in the inquest and courtroom drama (hide spoiler)]at the end *could* have felt repetitive and even clichéd, but Waters has absolute control over what she foreshadows and the suspense she is building - while juggling, again, the big themes of class and integrity; loyalty and morality(view spoiler)[, balancing them with similar twists and turns in Frances' and Lilian's feelings toward one another (hide spoiler)].
If I have one beef, it's with the ending. A little too open for me, especially after what felt like a rolling series of conclusions. I don't know where these characters go from here - maybe the fact that I truly want to find out is enough.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more