Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Graphic Passions: Leela Corman's "Unterzakhn"

Just finished... in practically one sitting... this marvellous graphic novel by Leela Corman

Set in New York's Lower East Side in the early 1900s, "Unterzakhn" tells the story of twin sisters Fanya and Esther as they grow from childhood into young women... and life takes them in different directions.
And life is hard for these daughters of Polish Jewish immigrants. A gentle father whom they love and a tough mother who has strong ideas on what a girl should do with her life... which doesn't include time-wasting activities like learning to read. Pogroms, ladies doctors, burlesque and brothels, tough streets, and tough choices abound.

Corman's bold, largely black and white art work in Unterzahkn reminds me in some ways of Marjane Satrapi's graphic novels. If you haven't read Satrapi's Persepolis... well you must. (You can check my post about Satrapi's animated version of Persepolis here.) Then too there is Satrapi's own warm and elegant account of women talking about their intimate lives and relationships in a very different society: three generations of Iranian women swap stories over one evening in -"Embroideries".

Great graphic ladies tellin stories.

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