By Alison Bechdel. Published by Penguin Random House.
Hardcover, 240 pages, Colour, 2021.
*A GUARDIAN AND OBSERVER 'BOOKS OF 2021' PICK*
From the bestselling, award-winning author of Fun Home
All her life, Alison Bechdel has searched for an elusive secret.
The secret to superhuman strength.
She has looked for it in her favourite books, the lives of her heroes, celibacy, polyamory, activism, therapy, and most obsessively, in her lifelong passion for exercise. Skiing, running, karate, cycling, yoga, weight lifting - you name it, she's tried it. "Oh, to be self-sufficient! Hard as a rock! An island!"
But as she gets older, her body isn't getting any stronger. And in a changing, sometimes overwhelming world, are "cantaloupe-sized guns" all a person needs? Maybe the all-important secret is not where she expected to find it . . .
In this, her third graphic memoir, Alison Bechdel has written a deeply layered, personal story about selfhood, self-sabotage, mortality, addiction, bliss, wonder, and the concerns of a generation. This is an extraordinary, laugh-out-loud chronicle of the conundrums we all grapple with as we seek our true place in the world.
Astonishing . . . How on earth does she do it? The ingenious concision, the warmth of feeling . . . I cannot hope to capture all that this extraordinarily generous and roomy book contains.
Rachel Cooke, Observer, *Graphic Novel of the Month*
Drawing is often seen as a cartoonist's primary skill, but Bechdel can also really write . . . Fresh, clever and moving . . . It [The Secret to Superhuman Strength] is probably her most beautiful [work].
Lucy Knight, Sunday Times
The long-anticipated return of . . . one of the most acclaimed authors in the genre, this should be one of the year's highlights.
Kate McHale, Bookseller *Graphic Novels Spotlight*
Every bit as deep, searching and multi-layered as Bechdel's previous efforts . . . The new book is fun, too . . . A sort of very sweaty A Portrait of an Artist.
Tom Tivnan, Bookseller
Everything you'd expect in a work from Alison Bechdel: wry, insightful and multi-layered. It even almost made me want to do some exercise.
Matthew Dooley, winner of the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize 2020
Alison Bechdel's literary, illustrated dive into a lifetime of fitness fads - from skiing to karate to yoga - is characteristically expansive and profound.
Funny and moving.
Riveting...Bechdel's storytelling helps her readers reflect on their own experiences... a joyful book, a feast of colour, wit and ideas about living in ever-changing times.
Max Liu, i