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Friday, June 16, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Book Review

"Fun Home": Sketches of a family circus

"Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic"
by Alison Bechdel
Houghton Mifflin,
232 pp., $19.95

Cartoonist Alison Bechdel's first extended work, "Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic," is a staggeringly literate and revealing autobiography focusing on her relationship with her gay father and his death, which was likely suicide.

Bechdel and her closeted parent use passages by Joyce, Collete, Fitzgerald and others to obliquely communicate. Scenes of her own homosexual awakening play against her father's painfully conflicted life. In a supporting role, Bechdel's mother adds her own drama and angst to the story as it skips through time in nonlinear fashion. The visuals are equal to the demands of Bechdel's engaging coming-of-age writing, a blend of tragedy and comedy — like life.

Richard Pachter Knight Ridder Newspapers

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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