Fiction at Literati: Tender by Beth Hetland

Monday, May 13, 2024 - 6:30pm
Literati is thrilled to welcome Beth Hetland in celebration of her highly anticipated graphic novel, Tender. She'll be joined in conversation by U-M Stamps professor and graphic novelist Phoebe Gloeckner. 
About the Book: A psychological thriller about a woman obsessed with her vision for a picture-perfect, curated life.

Carolanne wanted a perfect wedding, a perfect husband, a perfect family. She carefully performs her own roles (gal pal, bestie, girlfriend, wife, and expectant mother) and in trying to enact agency over her life, sacrifices it completely. Her desire to control the uncontrollable ultimately becomes her undoing. When things don't go her way, she exerts dominance over the one thing she does have total control over: her body; until that "betrays" her. After suffering a horrible loss, Carolanne spirals into a literal, all-consuming delusion that will engross comics readers and horror aficionados alike.

Chicago cartoonist and educator Beth Hetland's graphic novel debut is a brilliant psychological thriller that tears down the wall of a genre — body horror — so often identified with male creators. Heady and visceral, Tender uses horrific tropes to confront women's societal expectations of self-sacrifice despite those traditional roles often coming at the expense of female sexuality and empowerment.

Beth Hetland is a Professor, Adj. at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she teaches several comics and comics adjacent courses. She holds an MFA (2011) from The Center for Cartoon Studies and BFA (2009) from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Phoebe Gloeckner is a cartoonist, a writer, a trained medical illustrator, and a professor at the University of Michigan School of Art and Design. Her best-known works are the comics collection A Child’s Life and Other Stories (1998), and the genre-defying illustrated novel Diary of a Teenage Girl: An Account in Words and Pictures (2002). She has long experimented with the form of the novel: Diary is a hybrid of prose and image, and her current project, which extends her focus on Juárez, is a long-form, multi-media work of experimental reportage. In 2008, Phoebe Gloeckner received a Guggenheim fellowship for her continuing work on this project.


Event address: 
124 E. Washington
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Tender By Beth Hetland Cover Image
ISBN: 9781683969358
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Fantagraphics - March 12th, 2024