- Hardcover: 128 pages
- Publisher: Fantagraphics (May 5, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1560979739
- ISBN-13: 978-1560979739
- Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 0.8 x 9.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 13 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #769,609 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Mother, Come Home Hardcover – May 5, 2009
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“Hornschemeier doesn’t simply push the panel edges of the comics medium; he designs entirely off the page, encouraging other creators to join him over the horizon.”
- Chicago Tribune
“Hornschemeier uses simple line art and varied color palettes for conveying emotional and narrative detail, capturing graphically with a sort of exquisite beauty the symbolic fantasies of Thomas and the grief-induced psychosis of his father.”
- Library Journal
“Hornschemeier retains an audacious sense of what is possible in the graphic arts.”
- Steve Duin, The Oregonian
“Paul avoids the hammering sentimentality and labored connect-all-the-dots obviousness of too much contemporary work, in any media.”
- Jonathan Lethem, author of The Fortress of Solitude and Motherless Brooklyn
“Nothing is visually beautiful, and while all of this would seem to work against the impact of the story, it ultimately conveys a feeling of overwhelming nervousness, or waking up way too early in the morning and blearily staring into an unfamiliar world, and this is what infects you until it all makes sense.... should be a welcome addition to any collection.”
- Collin David, Graphic Novel Reporter
About the Author
Paul Hornschemeier lives in Chicago, IL, with his fiancée, Emily. He is the author of several graphic novels, including Mother, Come Home, Let Us Be Perfectly Clear, The Three Paradoxes, All and Sundry and Forlorn Funnies.
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Melancholy at its striking best.
There is a sweet pain and there is a bad pain. Sometimes, some souls suffer sufferings. Not a problem, not uncommon.
The problem begins when they start loving this suffering.
To be frank, I did not expect a book to render me clueless after 25% of its total page length. I did not know where it was heading, what the genre was or am I reading an actual book even?
And then it came to me. Hard and powerful. The keeper of the grounds and the mask he wears. I was too stunned to react this. Paul Hornschemeier threw me off-guard and I could not breathe.
The illustrations of grief are as real as it gets. Strangely honest and pin-point sharp in pointing out what sadness actually is.
Sadness is a monster that engulfs you. A creature that makes you want your own child to push you off the cliff.
Sadness is an illusion that portrays a picture of memories that never weren't as good as their nostalgia.
"I may have grown up but I was much older then..."
Just might break your defenses.
Mother, Come Home serves as an introductory volume to a collection of related stories that are presented in subsequent volumes that are listed in the beginning of this second edition but do not seem to actually exist. Whether or not the nonexistence of these books listed in the bibliography is part of the overarching narrative is something I'm not going to venture a guess at, but either way, this book works to construct a portrait of a severely traumatizing childhood that would undoubtedly create a very surreal, gray life if the story were actually pursued beyond this volume.
The parallels between the lonely, inwardly lived lives that Chris Ware writes about and the tale told here are very obvious, but they are not told with the same quiet subtlety. They both pick apart the tiny moments that make up tragedies, but Mother presents these in a much more obvious fashion, which may appeal to those who become impatient with deciphering little visual mysteries. This in itself is a very effective introduction to the significant depth the other comics in the genre present, which isn't always the easiest thing to dive right into. These similarities, both thematically and visually, don't go deep enough to be distracting from Hornschemeier's own narrative, and like it or not, Mother is a story that is very moving--if only because the subject matter is deeply emotional, making the relationship between the reader and its characters immediately relatable.
No one smiles. It's am emotional world presented in emotionless, static drawings and strange greens and beiges. Nothing is visually beautiful, and while all of this would seem to work against the impact of the story, it ultimately conveys a feeling of overwhelming nervousness, or waking up way too early in the morning and blearily staring into an unfamiliar world, and this is what infects you until it all makes sense. While I would not call Mother a masterpiece, as some have, it works on a level that takes some time to completely sink into, and ends on a weirdly satisfying note.
While there is no violence or profanity present, the theme of suicide and mental illness is prevalent--but treated very, very delicately, almost as if we're children who need to be protected from these aspects of life, much like the protagonist of the story itself. It is not a light read, but it feels much lighter than the works that it seeks to shadow, and should be a welcome addition to any collection.
-- Collin David
The story is unremittingly tragic as we initially see the boy standing before his mother's grave wearing the last two gifts she gave him - a red cape and a lion's mask, two items he wears constantly. From then on we see the boy having to grow up and see too much for a child, made all the more difficult as he wears the lion's mask. He tries to keep what little there is left of his childhood only to have to put it aside to help his father. The ending contains a devastating revelation and an even sadder ending.
It's basically one very long and difficult cry of sadness throughout. It's hard to read but equally hard to put down. The vivid colours of everyday scenes and imaginative methods of storytelling contrast bleak, dulled colours of unbridled misery. It's straightforward and a very depressing read.
It's not a sad story, it's a challenging one.
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