cover image The Property

The Property

Rutu Modan. Drawn and Quarterly, $14.99 (232p) ISBN 978-1-77046-1-154

Modan (Exit Wounds) has proven to be one of the most accessible of graphic novelists, with a cinematic presentation and the ability to capture the complexity of larger human experience within smaller family dramas. Her latest work takes readers on a trip to Warsaw with Mica and her grandmother, Regina, both from Israel. Their purpose in Poland is to check on some long lost property that Regina’s father owned prior to the Holocaust; she fled during the war, thus becoming the only family member to survive. The understanding that families were fractured and lives rerouted after WWII is nothing new, but the particulars provide the story here—family secrets and the measure of shame, historical and current attitudes between Poles and Jews, the changing views of cross-culture collusion when a hint of romance is involved, and the ways in which we don’t so much reinvent ourselves as repurpose. The pursuit of old family documents is concurrent with the unearthing of family secrets, but Modan doesn’t dole out the revelations with alarm or melodrama, but rather with a casual good nature toward her subjects, backed up with art somewhat reminiscent of Tintin but revealing the deepest memories of guilt and loss with merely the twitch of a line. A beautiful, fully realized story that’s as much “novel” as “graphic”. (June)