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Mother Come Home
     

Mother Come Home

5.0 3
by Paul Hornschemeier, Thomas Tennant (Introduction)
 

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With clean, distinctive art and poignant storytelling, this is a quietly stunning tale of a father and son struggling, by varying degrees of escapism and fantasy, to come to terms with the death of the boy's mother.Mother, Come Home is Paul Hornschemeier’s piercing graphic-novel debut, long out of print and now available for the first time in hardcover. It

Overview

With clean, distinctive art and poignant storytelling, this is a quietly stunning tale of a father and son struggling, by varying degrees of escapism and fantasy, to come to terms with the death of the boy's mother.Mother, Come Home is Paul Hornschemeier’s piercing graphic-novel debut, long out of print and now available for the first time in hardcover. It secured the cartoonist’s place as one of his generation’s most skillful and ambitious practitioners, and proved a harbinger of the subject matter that the artist would go on to explore most consistently in later work: the nuclear family.Mother, Come Home quietly studies the inner lives of recently widowed David and his 7-year-old son, Thomas; both are unable to deal with their grief directly. Thomas, protected by a lion’s mask that his mother gave him, constructs an identity for himself as “the groundskeeper”: ritual and routine, already important to children that age, become paramount to him. He struggles desperately to keep up appearances while his father, a professor of symbolic logic, becomes lost in abstractions. Father and son begin to retreat into their fantasies, but only one emerges.Mother, Come Home is masterfully drawn: Eisner-, Harvey-, and Ignatz-Award-nominated Hornschemeier’s controlled brushwork is clean, and his nine-panel page layouts pace David’s inexorable descent into utter despair. Hornschemeier is equally precise when it comes to Mother, Come Home’s color palette: subdued but warm, which suits the story’s melancholy and contemplative mode. Mother, Come Home is a powerful work with universal themes of anguish and loss.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Hornschemeier's Forlorn Funnies comics series has been something of an underground hit in art-comics circles. His first book collection is a grimly melancholic domestic tragedy, written from the point of view of a young boy named Thomas who's dealing with the death of his mother by retreating deep into a fantasy world while his father gradually collapses into insanity. Hornschemeier has been compared to Chris Ware, and while the two cartoonists have a few obvious points of similarity-a fondness for flat, muted colors, relentless depressiveness and understated drawing that captures the solidity of objects with a few lines-Hornschemeier has a unique sense of formal invention and a gift for subtleties of facial expressions. The metaphor that drives this work is symbolic logic, both the philosophical kind that obsesses the father and ultimately destroys him, and the logic that Thomas imposes on the baffling world by turning everything into simple symbols, like the lion mask he wears to play at being powerful. Hornschemeier renders Thomas's imaginary reinterpretations of his real life in a different style from the rest of the book: childlike single-line drawings, representing everyone as animals. And the metafictional conceit that frames the book doesn't fully come into focus until the final page. The plot is a real three-hanky weeper, but Hornschemeier leverages some of its heaviness into bittersweet absurdity. He's a talent to watch. (Nov. 2003) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Issues 2, 3, and 4 of the comic series "Forlorn Funnies" are compiled to create Hornschemeier's GN debut chronicling the effects of a woman's death on her husband and son. Switching perspective, time, and metaphysical place, it richly envelops the reader in the fog of loss. Thomas Tennant is a precocious and loving seven-year-old who escapes his grief by being useful: he tends his mother's garden, cleans the house, and takes messages from his father's assistant when his father, a professor, misses lectures. His father escapes by retreating within, becoming isolated from the outside world and barely aware of his son's existence. Hornschemeier shows the utmost compassion for both father and son, who react to their grief the only way they know how. Cinematically written and paced, this truthful, emotionally wrenching work could easily be used as the storyboards and bare-bones script for an incredible film. Each panel tells multiple stories, and multiple reads are required to appreciate their complexity fully. Highly recommended for collections with room for serious indie graphic literature, for teens and adults.-Khadijah Caturani, "Library Journal" Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-Collecting two issues of Hornschemeier's "Forlorn Funnies" series, Mother, Come Home is a stand-alone retrospective tale of family tragedy told by Thomas Tennant, who lost his mother to cancer when he was seven. The story opens after her death, with his professor father struggling to maintain some sense of comfort and equilibrium for himself and his son. Thomas, occasionally donning a superhero cape and lion mask, fights to keep things together by cleaning up after his father, lying to the college when his dad misses yet another class, and tending his mother's garden. Needing more help than his son can provide, the father checks himself into residential care. Forced to move in with an uncle and aunt, Thomas copes by entering a bright, cartoonish fantasy world where everything is how he wants it. His fantasies drive the heart-wrenching climax when he "rescues" his father from the care center. The simplified forms and muted earth tones of the artwork alongside dark and serious themes create links to Chris Ware's Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth (Pantheon, 2000), but Hornschemeier wields that rare gift of layered subtlety. Be it an almost imperceptible change in facial expressions or the slow death of a flower, he says significant, moving things in a few panels that would take pages to convey in a novel. But the book's greatest strength is the story itself and the lessons it offers for life, loss, and, most importantly, how to move on.-Matthew L. Moffett, Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
The Oregonian
Hornschemeier retains an audacious sense of what is possible in the graphic arts.— Steve Duin
Chicago Tribune
“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.”
Graphic Novel Reporter
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
Steve Duin - The Oregonian
“Hornschemeier retains an audacious sense of what is possible in the graphic arts.”
Collin David - Graphic Novel Reporter
“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.”
Jonathan Lethem
“Paul avoids the hammering sentimentality and labored connect-all-the-dots obviousness of too much contemporary work, in any media.”
The Oregonian - Steve Duin
“Hornschemeier retains an audacious sense of what is possible in the graphic arts.”
Graphic Novel Reporter - Collin David
“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.”
Andrew Wheeler - The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler
“Mother, Come Home is a subtle, dark story about death and madness and fantasy… It's not bleak, though; …perhaps Hornschmeier's lesson is that we all can, if we try — if we step outside our rituals and fantasies and reach out to each other, we can make it through.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781417637218
Publisher:
Turtleback Books: A Division of Sanval
Publication date:
01/28/2004
Pages:
128

Meet 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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Mother, Come Home 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nothing printed on paper had ever made me cry before. "Mother, Come Home" made me cry three times. This transcends your ordinary graphic novel. It is an unparalleled masterpiece, and should stand as an example of the best the genre has to offer. I absolutely recommend you read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I met the author through a mutual connection in a very different arena. I wouldn't have known he would write so sensitively about this sad of a sad subject because he was actually a happy guy. And from a child's point of view at that. Wonderful work from a talented artist.