cover image Kill My Mother

Kill My Mother

Jules Feiffer. Norton, $27.95 (160p) ISBN 978-0-87140-314-8

It’s not often that a graphic novel generates the kind of prepublication attention that this rare graphic novel effort by the multitalented, Pulitzer Prize–winning Feiffer has generated, but this is no ordinary graphic novel. Intertwining the lives of five well-rounded female characters in an exceptionally complex narrative, the novel takes us through the Depression and war years at a pace that is positively frenetic. With hidden secrets, dual identities, mystery, and murder, Feiffer creates a fusion of genres that reads like a film noir written by a dramatist or a cartoonist’s version of a pulp detective story done as a stage play—all mediums that the author has triumphed in. Feiffer’s consummate cartooning skills are everywhere in evidence here, but most impressive is the way he shifts the reader’s viewpoint with panels that go from Toulouse-Lautrec to Pollock, all in a moment. His canvas gives each of the characters an altogether different dimension: a kind of visceral immediacy that projects every emotion with stunning impact. The result is an achievement of tremendous breadth and scope. (Aug.)