Mother, Come Home by Paul Hornschemeier

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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 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.


About Paul Hornschemeier

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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 .
Published February 3, 2004 by Dark Horse Books. 128 pages
Genres: Comics & Graphic Novels, Self Help, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Parenting & Relationships. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Mother, Come Home

Publishers Weekly

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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 form...

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Entertainment Weekly

Originally posted Feb 13, 2004 Published in issue #751 Feb 13, 2004 Order article reprints

Feb 13 2004 | Read Full Review of Mother, Come Home

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 ...

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Sour Grapes Winery

Call me Mr. Optimism, but I would have liked a story about healing or at least show some signs of hope at the end.

Dec 16 2011 | Read Full Review of Mother, Come Home


Mother, Come Home is Paul Hornschemeier's piercing graphic-novel debut, long out of print and now available for the first time in hardcover.

Feb 23 2009 | Read Full Review of Mother, Come Home

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