cover image Soviet Daughter: A Graphic Revolution

Soviet Daughter: A Graphic Revolution

Julia Alekseyeva. Microcosm, $14.95 trade paper (192p) ISBN 978-1-62106-969-0

In this debut graphic memoir, Alekseyeva presents a history of strong women finding their way in hostile systems. Alekseyeva feels isolated after moving to America as a child in 1992, but she finds a kindred spirit in her great-grandmother Lola, a tough-spirited Ukrainian Jew who cut her own trail in a patriarchal, anti-Semitic Soviet Union. The bulk of the memoir is Lola’s incredible tale of pluck, joy, and hard-fought survival, graduating from factory work to a position at the exalted and feared Stalinist secret police, the NKVD. Lola faces brutality, near starvation, and the death of most of her family, but she keeps the spark of idealism and romance alive in her independent-minded flings and bookworm ways. Alekseyeva’s “Interludes,” in which she traces her own evolution as a millennial dreamer and activist, make for interesting bookends but strain too hard to tie her own experiences to Lola’s. A panoramic personal history with fantastic raw material that suffers from some inexpertly drawn art and poor lettering. (Jan.)