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The Property [Hardcover]

Rutu Modan , Jessica Cohen
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

14 May 2013

After the death of her son, Regina Segal takes her granddaughter Mica to Warsaw, hoping to reclaim a family property lost during World War II. As they get to know modern Warsaw, Regina is forced to recall difficult things about her past, and Mica begins to wonder if maybe their reasons for coming aren't a little different than her grandmother led her to believe.

Rutu Modan offers up a world populated by prickly seniors, officious public servants, and stubborn women - a world whose realism is expressed alternately in the absurdity of people's behaviour, and in the complex consequences of their sacrifices. Modan's ever-present wit is articulated perfectly in her clear-line style, while a subtle, almost muted colour palette complements the true-to-life nuances of her characterisation. Savvy and insightful, elegant and subtle, The Property is a triumph of storytelling and fine lines. Modan's first full-length graphic novel, Exit Wounds, made a huge splash for this signature combination of wit, style and realism; The Property cements Modan's status as one of the foremost cartoonists working today.

--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 222 pages
  • Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly (14 May 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1770461159
  • ISBN-13: 978-1770461154
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 18.1 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,215,515 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"My comic book of the year by a mile . This believe me, has everything you could possibly want in a comic: great pictures, a multi-layered story, sharp wit." (Rachel Cooke Observer)

"Drawn in clear, clean lines, which convey its thoroughly moving tale way more effectively than you'd think they would, and the result is a tender and dead clever evocation of the still-reverberating legacy of the Holocaust." (Rachael Allen Dazed and Confused)

"A nuanced and warm-hearted piece of work." (James Smart Guardian) --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

Book Description

The award-winning author of Exit Wounds returns with a story about secrets, money and the complex bonds of love --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Returning to Warsaw... 17 May 2013
By Jill Meyer TOP 500 REVIEWER
Rutu Modan is an Israeli-born artist living with her family in London. "The Property" is her second full-length graphic novel; her first was the wonderfully drawn and written book, "Exit Wounds". And, curiously, "The Property" is the second graphic novel I've read and reviewed this week. The other one was "Letting It Go" by Miriam Katin. Both Katin and Modan's books are about Jewish women taking trips of discovery to the European countries that either they or a family member fled before or after WW2. Both books are about how the past can be integrated into the present, and maybe even, the future.

"The Property" is a story about a young woman who is accompanying her aged grandmother back to Warsaw from Israel in an attempt to straighten out some legal rights to a building the older woman may - or may not - own. The property, owned by her parents, who perished in the Holocaust, is never quite defined til the end of the book. Was it a mansion or a factory, or even, possibly, the current Warsaw Hilton! Legal title is up-for-grabs among various people; some family members, some Christian Poles who had been living in her parent's apartment since the war. Mica, the granddaughter, seems at loose-ends in her own life in Israel after her father's death. The father was the son of the grand-mother, Regina.

I don't think I'm being dramatic when I write that for Polish Jews who fled the country during the war and afterward, returning to Poland - even for a visit as Regina and Mica are doing - can be quite emotional. What went on during the war, with Polish Christians often turning on their Jewish neighbors, has been thoroughly written about and I'm sure not getting into it in this review.

The book begins with Regina and Mica traveling on an ElAl flight from Tel Aviv to Warsaw.
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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Returning to Warsaw... 17 May 2013
By Jill Meyer - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Rutu Modan is an Israeli-born artist living with her family in London and "The Property" is her second full-length graphic novel. Her first was the wonderfully drawn and written book, "Exit Wounds". Curiously, "The Property" is the second graphic novel I've read and reviewed this week. The other one was "Letting It Go" by Miriam Katin. Both Katin and Modan's books are about Jewish women taking trips of discovery to the European countries that either they or a family member fled before or after WW2. Both books are about how the past can be integrated into the present, and maybe even, the future.

"The Property" is a story about a young woman who is accompanying her aged grandmother back to Warsaw from Israel in an attempt to straighten out some legal rights to a building the older woman may - or may not - own. The property, owned by her parents, who perished in the Holocaust, is never quite defined til the end of the book. Was it a mansion or a factory, or even, possibly, the current Warsaw Hilton! Legal title is up-for-grabs among various people; some family members, some Christian Poles who had been living in her parent's apartment since the war. Mica, the granddaughter, seems at loose-ends in her own life in Israel after her father's death. The father was the son of the grand-mother, Regina.

I don't think I'm being dramatic when I write that for Polish Jews who fled the country during the war and afterward, returning to Poland - even for a visit as Regina and Mica are doing - can be quite emotional. What went on during the war, with Polish Christians often turning on their Jewish neighbors, has been thoroughly written about and I'm sure not getting into it in this review.

The book begins with Regina and Mica traveling on an ElAl flight from Tel Aviv to Warsaw. Also on the plane are teenagers who are going to Warsaw to see the city and the various concentration camps in a group organised in Israel. The teens are in typically high spirits as they start their trip; certainly on the return flight they are much quieter and pensive. A middle-aged cantor is also flying with them and he begins to intrude on the grandmother and granddaughter. There's a connection between the three of them which will be explained later. But if the cantor's business is somewhat murky, Regina's reasons for returning to Warsaw 70 years after leaving it as a young, unwed, pregnant woman sent off to Palestine to have her baby, are equally jumbled.

After arriving in Warsaw, Regina's reasons for making the trip seem to change. A visit to a restaurant on the second floor of a building is disquieting and Regina wants to go home without making claim to whatever her parents have left her. Mica, fearing for her grandmother and her health - and possibly her sanity! - meets a young Polish Catholic artist. He helps her discover her grandmother's secrets, which in turn, affect her own life and future.

This is a wonderful novel about how the tragedies of war can be sometimes be changed by revisiting the past. Because sometimes the past can explain the present, and the truth can provide a bit of comfort of those trapped in the past.
Modan's quite a good artist and the book is excellent.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable story 13 July 2013
By Tom - Published on Amazon.com
The Property (2013), a graphic novel, was written and illustrated by Rutu Modan.

Regina, an elderly Jewish woman travels from Israel to Warsaw, Poland with her granddaughter, Mica, to supposedly reclaim her family's property. Most of Poland's Jews had been slaughtered by the Nazi German occupiers during the Holocaust and Polish Gentiles appropriated their vacant properties. A tour guide, Tomasz, takes a shine to Mica and attempts to assist the ladies in their endeavor. But all is not as it seems. Regina's actual intention is to meet her long-ago Polish lover to inform him that their son, Mica's father, has died. She had become pregnant just prior to the war and her parents abruptly whisked her off to Palestine to start a new life. Her old boyfriend, Roman, had bought her parent's building from them for a pittance as the Germans were preparing to relocate all Jews to the Warsaw Ghetto with the contractual understanding that he would someday return it to them if they would divulge their daughter's whereabouts. Of course, that day never came and Roman is still residing there as the building's owner when Regina visits.

I enjoyed The Property very much but I do have a few criticisms. Although the character, Mr. Yagodnik, was intended to be a slightly comical antagonist, I found him to be rather unbelievable and annoying. Also, while the property restitution issue in Poland is a very weighty matter for many Polish and Jewish families it's treated somewhat casually here and Polish anti-Semitism is only lightly touched upon. But overall this is an entertaining story with plenty of twists and turns. Modan's elegantly simple illustrations convey quite a bit information and emotion. The many authentic references to Polish culture and history in both the text and drawings testify to the author's careful research. It was a real treat to read this book which I finished in only one sitting.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars quick and informative 19 Jun 2013
By Buddha Baby - Published on Amazon.com
Rutu Modan was born in Israel and educated in Jerusalem.  She is an award winning illustrator and cartoonist.  This graphic novel is the first of her books that I have read, but not the last.  It is the story of a young woman who accompanies her grandmother on a trip from Tel Aviv to Warsaw for the first time since her Jewish grandmother was exiled from the Jewish ghetto of Warsaw.  A not uncommon story, it involves loss of property, loss of loved ones and close friends, as well as betrayal.  It's a good story with excellent graphics.  I particularly liked that this took place in Warsaw because I haven't read much about Poland in this time period.  It is both quick and informative, with excellent art work.  Four stars.
5.0 out of 5 stars "a picture is worth a thousand words" 9 April 2014
By E. Tanner - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
The graphic novel has definitely come into its own. The reader is invited to develop his/her powers of observation in partnership with the artist/writer. In this book, the grandmother is the center, so the emotions that play across her face are key to understanding the story as well as how her body is drawn - in fetal position? upright and "brave" ? Rotu Modan shows much with a few lines (like all accomplished artists). I look forward to reading (and looking at) her earlier book.
5.0 out of 5 stars Rutu Modan continues to be a delight 29 Mar 2014
By Agnes - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
The graphics and story are wonderful and unpredictable. Rutu Modan continues to surprise and delight both the imagination and the eye.
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