Tour de France

July 26th, 2006 | Interviews & Reviews

french fun home

Fun Home is being published serially, two pages a day for the rest of the summer, in the French newspaper Liberation. Unfortunately, you can only see it in the actual paper, not the online edition. “Fun Home; Une Tragecomedie Familiale” will be published in book form in October. Aren’t you impressed that I spoke such fluent French as a child?

59 Responses to “Tour de France”

  1. Juliegrrl20 says:

    How very cultured and refined you must have been!!! Kudos on going global, although I guess you already were!

  2. Suzanonymous says:

    Reminded me instantly of “Ma Vie en Rose” (may have got that title slightly wrong), a French movie about a boy who wants to be a girl. Neat thing is later he meets a girl who’d rather be a boy. They swap clothes and all hell breaks loose. It’s kind of zany yet gripping rememberance of how awful childhood could be. Kinda like Fun Home in that respect.

  3. Lydia says:

    “Ma Vie en Rose” is a fantastic film.

    I tried to purchase “Fun Home” at the Boulder lesbian-feminist bookstore “Word is Out” and the cashier told me that it is out of stock everywhere and the publishers are doing another printing. So I consoled myself with a purchase of “Invasion of the Dykes to Watch Out For” –the only bit of Alison’s oeuvre (

  4. robin0robin says:

    That is so great! Liberation did that with Persepolis, too, while i was living in paris, and that is certainly the reason I knew about it. (I loved it because it was good, but also because a comic strip was way easier to read than the news, and a graphic novel was way easier to read than a novel.)

    There is a HUGE market for graphic novels/comics in France!

  5. Lydia says:

    Dang, my response got cut off. I said something completely charming about how I know French, too (after the word oeuvre) and then I proceeded to compliment Alison’s genius. You all would have been so charmed. Really. And the compliments to Alison are heartfelt. So I’ll summarize: Alison, super-genius. Me, super-grateful.

  6. NLC says:

    First: Yeah, what’s the deal with the reprinting?
    (Amazaon went from “Usually ships within 24hrs” to
    “…1 to 2 weeks” to “…3 to 4 weeks”. It now
    reads “…7 to 13 days”[??!?])

    On the other hand, if you can’t wait to get your own
    copy, here’s an entry on Alibris which offers a “signed,
    first-edition fine copy” of _Fun Home_ for $87.73[!]

    http://www.alibris.com/search/detail.cfm?chunk=25&mtype=&wauth=bechdel&qwork=9307234&signed=1&S=R&bid=8803053702&pbest=11%2E95&pqtynew=28&pbestnew=13%2E97&page=1&matches=2&qsort=p

    Second: How cool about the French serialization.
    It’ll be interesting to see how well some of
    the word-play and discussions survive the translations
    (for example the discussion of the translations of the
    Proust titles).

    (Hmmm… The Google Translation Tools page translates
    “Pas De Bol.” in the panel above as “No, the bowl”…)

    Finally, just a note that “Ma Vie En Rose” is also the
    name of a pretty famous french song. You’ve almost
    certainly heard it if you’ve ever seen a (American)
    movie set in France. It’s always being played it in
    the background (usually accompanied by an accordian)

  7. ODB says:

    Wow Just like Balzac and Dumas! Congratulations.

  8. austin kleon says:

    yeah, i went on vacation in south carolina and it took me all week to find a bookstore that actually had a copy in stock…

  9. Deborah says:

    This is so cool – who is doing the French translation? Does Alison have any “creative” control over the translation?
    And what a Proustian mind-f*ck: French to English to Fun Home to French….

  10. Ann says:

    Wasn’t your father saying, “Tough titty” in that panel? I don’t have the book with me, believe it or not.

  11. astronomick says:

    Oh, I see, you grew up in French Pennsylvania. Huh.

  12. Deb says:

    Alison, parlez-vous français ? Je un peu.

  13. Deb says:

    My understanding of ” Tough tittie” would translate to “Tittie dur” in formal French. I am not really good with modern conversational colloquialisms.

  14. kat says:

    bien sur! Tous le monde sait que t’es une femme intelligente. Alors, c’est logique que t’etais une fille intelligente aussi!!!

    p.s. “pas de bol” is “that’s unlucky” or “too bad”

  15. Juliegrrl20 says:

    Hmmm I guess Tough Tittie didn’t translate well… lol

  16. Jerome says:

    Tangentially related to Alison’s childhood (and hence, Fun Home):

    http://xkcd.com/c100.html

  17. K.B. says:

    Hey Suzanonymous: it’s a Belgian movie not a French movie. Get your facts right. If you can post here, you can check wikipedia!

  18. Lydia says:

    A French friend of mine tells me that “Pipe” is slang in French for “blow job”, which renders the Magritte painting in a whole new light.

    “C’est ne pas une pipe”

  19. Deb says:

    Merci beaucoup kat! :)

  20. Eva says:

    Zut Alors! I fully expect translations into Dutch, Italian and Spanish before the end of the summer, as well as Japanese and Icelandic by fall, n’est pas?

  21. NLC says:

    Aha, perhaps I spoke a bit too soon above.

    I see that Amazon has not gone back to “usually ships
    within 24hrs” on the _Fun Home_ page.

    Perhaps the new printing has started shipping?

  22. NLC says:

    I meant to say:

    “I see that Amazon has now gone back to “usually ships
    within 24hrs” on the _Fun Home_ page.”

  23. Andrew Ogus says:

    But do you speak French NOW?

  24. Tera says:

    that is awesome! I will have to buy a copy to practice my french : ) now a whole new country can fall in love with you!

  25. kat says:

    heehee….if “tough tittie” turns into an expression that comes from an arcane gambling reference, I wonder what it will turn into in Icelandic!!!

  26. Fred says:

    Trop bien! The French version will be a great christmas gift for my wife (her English is not good enough yet for her to get the most out of my copy of the “v.o.”).

  27. Andrew B says:

    I’m waiting for the Finnish “Bat Life” version.

    Seriously, though, one thing bothers me about that translation. You didn’t just hate pink flowers. You hated flowers, period. This matters for establishing the contrast between you and your father.

    “Tough titty” is probably untranslatable in this context, but “I hate flowers!” is simply “Je hais les fleurs!” Can you get any feedback into the translation before it comes out in book form?

    Also, I bet somebody could come up with a subtitle that better captures the pun of “Tragicomic”. How about “Bande Desolee”? (Please add appropriate accents; I don’t have time to figure out how to do that right now). I’m doing this out of my old pocket French/English dictionary. That suggestion may or may not be any good. But “fleurs” versus “fleurs roses” is straightforward.

  28. Fred says:

    I like “Bande désolée”, Andrew B. But the problem is that, because it’s a “Tragecomedie Familiale”, it might suggest that the family is the “bande désolée”. But on the other hand that ambiguity might not be that bad…

  29. kolbester says:

    yeah, amazon is back to 24 hours so looks like it must be back in stock.

  30. Ann says:

    actually, it roughly translates as tough luck.

  31. Sarah R. says:

    Génial, Alison!

  32. kat says:

    “tough luck” because “bol” refers to the pot into which bets would be placed. Hence, “pas de bol” means you didn’t win the pot and had bad, or tough, luck…

  33. Deb says:

    Makes sense. Speaking of luck, I just wrote a 4 page letter to my father. After reading Fun Home a second time, it has moved me reevaluate my relationship with him. It was much like Alison’s in many ways……..though even much more distant! So………..I was moved to unload and bare my soul. First time ever. We have been very much distant with each other. He is 81 now and it felt like the thing to do…..for me. We will see huh?? I feel like the little girl waiting to see what Daddy will say? Anything??? Or will he mearly grunt, nod and go about his business…….again?

  34. kat says:

    wow, good luck, deb!
    Its always tough to predict someone’s response. I hope, though, that it works out. Why is it that even as adults its so easy to slip back into the little kid mindset of hoping for Daddy’s or Mommy’s approval?
    How very brave of you to be so open when past experience wasn’t so positive…
    Bonne Chance!

    also: any advice from everyone as to how to get my family off my back?? I only just finished grad school, and have yet to find a job. The constant nagging is making me crazy. Polite requests to please stop have done nothing….

  35. kat says:

    the nagging being about the joblessness, just to clarify…

  36. --MC says:

    Just reassure them you’re looking — grab the Help Wanted section of the paper on Sunday first thing, leave out a thick file of resumes and applications on the kitchen table. They need to be reassured you’re not just sloughing off.

  37. anonyme says:

    Félicitations! Sadly, I haven’t yet got a copy of *Fun Home* yet…perhaps the french edition will be easier to get hold of. When does the French version come out in the book form?

  38. Lauren Zito says:

    I FINALLY FINALLY GOT MY COPY!!! AND I DEVOURED IT IN ONE SITTING. My husband dismissed it as a “comic book”. Pleeb. One chapter and he’ll be all wrapped up into it just like everyone else. This is why I AlWAYS choose the movies/TV programs that we see. Not because a control thing, just it has been established that I have a better “eye” for that sort of thing. My husbands life was very similar to Alison’s (minus the corpses) – he grew up in a Jehovah Witness family. While the subject is different, the emotions, the secrets, the selling out, the giving up – the usual, not being true to yourself, your own emotional nature, your erotic truth. Its weird, but my husband has always been comfortable and at ease whenever I drag him around to my art events with all my gay friends. He feels comfortable with the honesty, or at least that first step of honesty that one must confront when coming out. I grew up in a very non-religious, non-judgmental household. Religion was not an issue, sexuality was not an issue – so I guess I was free of that. Religious repression/sexual repression. You’d think they are very very different, but they are more alike than you’d think. Maybe its about not being real. Not being honest.

    Oh my god – what a worthless ramble. Just wanted to come on and say Alison – you are my goddess!! But an attainable/understandable goddess. For any girl who has grown up outside of that pink box has been where you are. (I had a subscription to GQ as a teenager too…!!) Something about those suits. Nice on a guy – but totally hot on a women (ie. myself…)

    Wonderful book Alison – (but you knew that already!!)

  39. Victoria Silverwolf says:

    Hello. Long time fan, first time comment-dropper here.

    I recently finished “Fun Home” in one sitting. Wow. Just wow. A stunning work of art. For the very first time I understand the concept of the “graphic novel.”

    Keep up the good work.

  40. KJL says:

    Also a long time fan but first time commenting.

    I live in Paris and read Fun Home (a friend went to a reading in Boston and got an autographed copy for me) in two great gulps going to and from work one day. It was amazing!

    How cool that Libé is serializing Fun Home. I’ll have to check it out and I’ll definitely be giving all my French friends copies for the holidays this year!

    Alison, any chance you would come and do a reading over here?

  41. Deena in OR says:

    Deb,

    Not to be nosy, but I’m still thinking about your letter to your Dad. Hope all is going well.

    (meditating on the wierd intimacy of cyber-space this morning…)

  42. Deb says:

    Hi Deena. Thanks for asking. I haven’t heard anything back yet but it’s still a bit soon for me to know anything. I sent a copy of the letter to my sister and she called me bawling. She thought it was quite lovely. I am still checking each day and will let you all know when/if I hear anything. Where in Oregon are you Deena? :)

  43. Deena in OR says:

    Forest Grove…getting ready to send an offspring to U of O (maybe…he’s still applying everywhere…) in Fall of 2007. I was in Eugene last fall for a city councilors’ stage conference. Loved it. If I weren’t so settled here, I’d live there in a heartbeat.

  44. Deb says:

    Hey, Forest Grove is a great place and Dorena Lake isn’t far from you right? U of O is awesome. A co-worker and I scored season tickets to the home games for this year. the games are alot of fun actually. Good luck in getting your offspring to college! One of mine is out and my youngest didn’t want to attend…..broke my heart but he is doing OK anyway. Eugene is the old hippy capital of the world I think, along with Boulder, CO. It’s quite open and there’s rarely a day I drive in town and don’t see some sort of protest going on. Hey, if you are in town again, give me a call and we can do lunch or coffee and talk about blogging with Alison and all the wonderful women (and men) here. You can write me at sassygirl1951@hotmail.com and I will give you my phone # if ya want. :)

  45. Deena in OR says:

    Deb…check your email.

  46. kat says:

    Deb, do let us all know how things go with your Dad. I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking happy thoughts and sending good vibes your way!

  47. mk says:

    Gosh KB, I thought posting was an informal thing. Guess I better watch it here.

  48. kat says:

    To go back to Alison’s post about Myspace: There’s an editorial in today’s (Sunday’s) San Francisco Chronicle entitled “How I became a Myspace Hottie.” I think it illustrates a lot of the points that we were discussing in response to Alison’s befuddlement….

    Here’s the link:

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/07/30/LVGNDK5U4L1.DTL

  49. kat says:

    by the way, thanks for the advice, MC!

  50. Deb says:

    Deena, thanks for the support. I really appreciate it! I’ll check my email.

  51. Olivier says:

    Minor nit: the famous song in question (from Edith Piaf’s repertoire) is not “Ma vie en rose” but “La vie en rose”. Nuance…

  52. kat says:

    Olivier, you’re right, of course, but they changed it for the film to “Ma Vie en Rose.” Its a lovely movie….

    god, just read through some posts, and I’m coming across like such an annoying know it all!!

  53. Deb says:

    LOL….Kat, you aren’t coming acros that way at all. Isn’t it funny how we perceive ourselves in this cyper world we create? I was worried about that myself earlier, as I thought I might be coming across as a whiney, girlie, femme therapist! *holds her breath, wondering if she hears cheers in the background saying “she finally got it”* :)

  54. kat says:

    heehee….thanks for the reassurance!!
    No, deb, you’re not coming across as whiny at all!

  55. Suzanonymous says:

    Thanks mk :-) that’s what I think too.

  56. Olivier says:

    Kat, yes I know the movie’s title is a pun on the song’s title. The point is that the earlier poster thought they were identical and thus was missing the pun!

  57. kat says:

    oh….right

  58. sweetpottoo says:

    It’s up near 100 degrees F and I’m holed up in the Reading Room of the UMASS Amherst Campus Center. The massive 1960s concrete architecture, otherwise hideous, holds in the cool of the air conditioning.

    I’m on p.134, with the cutaway of all the family members in silhouette, solitary in their artistic pursuits. Throw in some public health and environmentalism and you have my childhood. It’s a bit frightening, right down to the Wayside Gardens catalog.

    I’m thinking about what Lauren Zito said about sexual and religious repression being not so far from each other. I would throw the arts in as a potential arena for repression as well. The fear of making bad art can stop the best of us in our tracks.

    All the more kudos to Alison B. for taking these things on through the graphic novel.

  59. kat says:

    good point Sweetpottoo. The arts can be crippling sometimes….