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Are You My Mother?

Are You My Mother? A Comic Drama
by Alison Bechdel
Houghton Mifflin, $22.

by Leela Corman
Schocken Books, $24.95

Are You My Mother is one tough nut of a book. Dense, analytical, filled with allusions to classic literature and psychoanalysis, it consciously resists easy interpretation or tried and true conventions. It’s an adventurous, thoughtful and fascinating book —  I have no qualms about recommending it — but it’s chilly and distancing, and I suspect it will frustrate many readers, even those who cherished author Alison Bechdel’s previous book Fun Home. 

Mother is in many ways a direct sequel to Fun Home, Bechdel’s highly touted and incredibly successful (at least in comic book terms) memoir of her father. It’s not impossible to come to Mother never having read any of Bechdel’s previous work, but the book refers directly to issues raised in Fun Home, so being acquainted will undoubtedly help.

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