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Letting It Go
     

Letting It Go

by Miriam Katin
 

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A Holocaust survivor struggles to let go of the past

Miriam Katin has the light hand of a master storyteller in this flowing, expressive, full-color masterpiece. A Holocaust survivor and mother, Katin's world is turned upside down by the news that her adult son is moving to Berlin, a city she's villainized for the past forty years. As she struggles to

Overview

A Holocaust survivor struggles to let go of the past

Miriam Katin has the light hand of a master storyteller in this flowing, expressive, full-color masterpiece. A Holocaust survivor and mother, Katin's world is turned upside down by the news that her adult son is moving to Berlin, a city she's villainized for the past forty years. As she struggles to accept her son's decision, she visits the city twice, first to see her son and then to attend a museum gala featuring her own artwork. What she witnesses firsthand is a city coming to terms with its traumatic past, much as Katin is herself. Letting It Go is a deft and careful balance: wry, self-deprecating anecdotes counterpoint a serious account of the myriad ways trauma inflects daily existence, both for survivors and for their families.
Katin's first book, We Are On Our Own, was a memoir of her childhood, detailing how she and her mother hid in the Hungarian countryside, disguising themselves as a peasant woman and her illegitimate child in order to escape the Nazis. The stunning story, along with Katin's gorgeous pencil work, immediately garnered acclaim in the comics world and beyond. With Letting It Go, Katin's storytelling and artistic skills allow her to explore a voice and perspective like no other found in the medium.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Animator Katin’s incomparable graphic memoir, We Are On Our Own, followed her childhood flight across Hungary with her mother, fleeing the Nazis in the last days of World War II. In this, her long-awaited and only slightly lesser follow-up, we find Katin as a neurotic middle-aged procrastinator battling cockroaches and her husband’s clarinet playing in their New York apartment. Their son Ilan has decided to move to Berlin and wants Miriam to use her Hungarian ancestry to help him apply for E.U. citizenship. But the idea that her son will live in the heart of the old Reich dredges up a storm of fury and confusion for Miriam: “This is like handing my baby over to the wolves.” The sketchy memoir that follows is Katin’s heartfelt but still playful account of coming to terms with the Holocaust’s legacy. It is a rich vein to mine, illustrated with great looping eddies of colored pencil. But Katin is less able to generate life outside own head, her husband and son being particularly flat characterizations. One exception is the too-short inclusion of a gruff, wise Turkish poet friend from Israel in the 1960s, whom she calls decades later for advice. (Apr.)
From the Publisher

“[Letting It Go is] thoughtful and unflinching but also frequently funny, and drawn with considerable grace.” —National Post

“Miriam Katin's Letting It Go is my kind of graphic memoir: loose, impressionistic, a portrait of the artist's inner life.” —Los Angeles Times

Letting It Go is a moving, funny look inside the artist's thought processes as she reckons with her past and decides whether she's going to live out her golden years in a spirit of resentment or forgiveness.” —AV Club

Library Journal
Katin’s memoir We Are on Our Own shares the harrowing experience of her childhood as a Hungarian Jew surviving World War II, with her mother. Her latest title brings us to present-day New York City, where Katin is an artist, mother, and wife. Ilan, Katin’s son, unexpectedly calls his mother and father announcing his immediate trip from Europe to see them. While in New York, Ilan discloses his decision to move to Berlin and apply for Hungarian citizenship. Ilan’s decision forces Katin to confront her feelings about the past, in particular those feelings she harbors for Germans. First, she reluctantly revisits her early experiences as she works to produce the documentation for Ilan’s citizenship application. But it will take a trip to Berlin before she can fully face those past horrors and begin the healing process.
Verdict Katin’s stylish artwork, with penciled coloring and handwritten print for lettering, adds an intimacy to the illustrations without forgoing an elegance that will appeal to many readers, even graphic novel newbies. Recommended for readers interested in Jewish writers and memoir.—Scott Vieira, Sam Houston State Univ. Lib., Huntsville, TX

(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781770461031
Publisher:
Drawn & Quarterly
Publication date:
03/19/2013
Pages:
160
Sales rank:
1,337,670
Product dimensions:
7.40(w) x 9.80(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author

Miriam Katin was born in Hungary during World War II. She later immigrated to Israel and then the United States, where she worked in background design for animation studios such as MTV and Disney. Her debut graphic novel was the award-winning memoir We Are On Our Own. She currently lives in Washington Heights with her husband and a giant Ficus benjamina tree.

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