Climbing Desolation Peak



Alison Bechdel’s new graphic memoir, The Secret to Superhuman Strength, follows the artist through a lifetime of fitness and exercise. These memories and musings are interspersed with transcendentalists, Romantics, Eastern philosophers, and other literary figures who shed light on our obsession with transformation and transcendence. In the excerpt below, Bechdel follows in Jack Kerouac’s footsteps up the Matterhorn, only to find the hike to be far more difficult than expected, and with surprising lessons in store. 





Alison Bechdel’s cult following for her comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For expanded wildly for her best-selling memoirs, Fun Home, adapted into a Tony Award–winning musical, and Are You My Mother? Her many honors include being named a MacArthur Fellow and Cartoonist Laureate of Vermont.

Excerpted from The Secret to Superhuman Strength, by Alison Bechdel. Copyright © 2021 by Alison Bechdel. Reprinted by permission of HMH Books & Media. All rights reserved.