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Alison Bechdel’s cartoon strip, now a collected works, Dykes To Watch Out For, established her as a cult hero. It went on to win the cartoonist international acclaim for her laugh-out-loud, mesmerising soap-opera comic following the lives, loves and political struggles of an endearing team of North American lesbians. Begun in a pre-L Word era, it set out in uncharted territory, imagining that: ‘By drawing the everyday lives of women like me, I hoped to make lesbians more visible . . . if only people could see us, how could they help but love us?!’
Are You My Mother? explores theories of the ‘mother-daughter’ gulf by considering the writer’s own childhood. Bechdel brings in theory on the effects of the initial stages of the mother-child relationship, ultimately reaching an understanding that embraces her own experience. The book follows Fun Home as a second memoir that seeks to understand Bechdel’s family and thereby herself.
Bechdel examines the work of Virginia Woolf and the psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott to shed theoretical and narrative light on care and dependence. She provides the reader with a handy map of her life in girlfriends and therapists – invaluable reference points – as she draws together a web of dreams and experience to make careful conclusions about how she understands her mother and their ways of relating to each other.
The book left me refreshed by the journey Bechdel takes the reader on through her life and others. She mixes sharp humour and an enamouring reflective process to create cartoons that convey nuanced relationships, all in a concise and stunningly beautiful monochrome and blood-red graphic novel.
Not for the faint-hearted, Are You My Mother? is a long, cross-continent road trip in soul-searching. But it isn’t navel-gazing: each page contains a funny, delightful detail in character observation, and as a whole, perhaps more so than Bechdel’s other ‘cult faves’, this work has the potential to resonate with a wider audience.
Grace Blakeley investigates the curious case of Carillion: how the company’s slow decline and abrupt liquidation reveals the nature of modern capitalism.
The collapse of Carillion could be a watershed moment. Let's seize it to end economically disastrous outsourcing schemes. By Cat Hobbs.
Campaign groups highlight UK complicity in Saudi Arabia's human rights abuses.
Three founders of Momentum talk to Ashish Ghadiali about the two years that have transformed their lives and the fortunes of the British left.
Andrew Smith from Campaign Against the Arms Trade gives the run-down on one of the UK's most profitable - and most deadly - industries.
The real story behind the fire in Grande Synthe’s Linière refugee camp, Dunkirk. From 'Bordered Lives – How Europe fails refugees and migrants' by Hsiao-Hung Pai
Javier Pérez De La Cruz writes about the working class Berlin neighbourhood wrung dry by gentrifiers.
Across the world, thousands of protesters are taking on the planet’s biggest fossil fuel companies. We should support them – and if we can, we should join them. By Kara Moses
Students are suffering the effects of financial instability, stress, and slashed mental health services. Mark Crawford reports.
They're not defending free speech - they're just seeking to shore up their own power, writes Ilyas Nagdee
Jeremy Hunt is poised to flog the last of the NHS
Peter Roderick sounds the alarm on an 'attack on the fundamental principles of the NHS'.
Viva Siva, 1923-2018
A. Sivanandan, who died this week, was a hugely important figure in the politics of race and class. As part of our tributes, Red Pepper is republishing this 2009 profile of him by Arun Kundnani
Sivanandan: When memory forgets a giant
Daniel Renwick calls for the whole movement to discover and remember the vital work of A. Sivanandan, who died this week
A master-work of graphic satire
American Jewish cartoonist Eli Valley’s comic commentary on America, the US Jewish diaspora and Israel is nothing if not near the knuckle, Richard Kuper writes
Meet the frontline activists facing down the global mining industry
Activists are defending land, life and water from the global mining industry. Tatiana Garavito, Sebastian Ordoñez and Hannibal Rhoades investigate.
Transition or succession? Zimbabwe’s future looks uncertain
The fall of Mugabe doesn't necessarily spell freedom for the people of Zimbabwe, writes Farai Maguwu
Don’t let Corbyn’s opponents sneak onto the Labour NEC
Labour’s powerful governing body is being targeted by forces that still want to strangle Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, writes Alex Nunns