Market Day

Overview

A TIMELESS MEDITATION ON ART AND COMMERCE SEEN THROUGH THE LIFE OF AN EARLY-TWENTIETH-CENTURY JEWISH RUG MAKER

Mendleman’s life goes through an upheaval when he discovers that he can no longer earn a living for his growing family doing the work that defines him—making well-crafted rugs by hand. A proud artisan, he takes his donkey-drawn cart to the market only to be turned away when the distinctive shop he once sold to now stocks only cheaply manufactured merchandise. As the ...

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Overview

A TIMELESS MEDITATION ON ART AND COMMERCE SEEN THROUGH THE LIFE OF AN EARLY-TWENTIETH-CENTURY JEWISH RUG MAKER

Mendleman’s life goes through an upheaval when he discovers that he can no longer earn a living for his growing family doing the work that defines him—making well-crafted rugs by hand. A proud artisan, he takes his donkey-drawn cart to the market only to be turned away when the distinctive shop he once sold to now stocks only cheaply manufactured merchandise. As the realities of the marketplace sink in, Mendleman unravels. James Sturm draws a quiet, reflective, and beautiful portrait of eastern Europe in the early 1900s–bringing to life the hustle and bustle of an Old World marketplace on the brink of industrialization. Market Day is an ageless tale of how economic and social forces can affect a single life.

An award-winning cartoonist of the books Golem’s Mighty Swing, James Sturm’s America, Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow, and Adventures in Cartooning, Sturm is a true visionary, having cofounded the Seattle alternative weekly The Stranger and the Center for Cartoon Studies, the country’s premier cartooning school.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“James Sturmis a lean,mean storytellingmachine.His economy of style and motion delivers an exquisite poignancy that never becomes sentimental.” —ALISON BECHDEL

Praise for James Sturm’s America:

“Original and fascinating.” —GARRY TRUDEAU

“James Sturm’s graphic narratives make us reimagine our shared history. This is historical fiction at its best.” —RUSSELL BANKS

School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—Mendleman is a Jewish rug maker in early-20th-century Eastern Europe. His wife is pregnant with their first child and due any minute, but he must go to the market to make money for his family to survive. He attempts to sell his wares to no avail. The shop he frequented in the past has changed owners and no longer carries quality items like his. Mendleman presses on and attempts to sell his rugs at the emporium, where they are willing to pay a fraction of what he used to make, and his pieces are thrown onto a heap of other rugs for sale. Mendleman feels he has no choice and completes the sale. This catalyzes an existential crisis for him. His work used to give him so much pride, but he is forced to surrender for money. With expressive and moody imagery, Sturm's story is at once original and universal. The struggle to maintain one's identity after losing a job is a tough one, and the author does an excellent job conveying it. With some obscene language, nudity, and brief mention of sex, this graphic novel is for mature readers.—Melissa Houlroyd, formerly at Brighton Memorial Library, Rochester, NY
George Gene Gustines
Mr. Sturm's other explorations of times past…have always made tumultuous events feel personal. Market Day is no exception. The splendid artwork…manages to evoke—depending on the scene—wonder or sadness, though the color palette mostly stays muted.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Cartoonist and educator Sturm turns in a tightly woven graphic novella about a shtetl craftsman whose life and livelihood shatter against the rising industrial behemoth of the early 20th century. Mendleman is a nervous rug weaver with a child on the way. His devotion to his craft brings him to the brink of art, but when he suddenly loses his major client to modernization, he finds himself, effectively, patronless. Suddenly a castaway amid economic forces that render his virtues meaningless, he collapses as his previously unnamable anxieties find specific and destructive form. Sturm's tale comprises a day's cycle, and the magnitude of Mendleman's radical descent must sometimes be stated or inferred. But most of the book's important details are effectively portrayed as part of the quotidian warp and woof of life's patterns and relationships. Sturm has infused his reliably disciplined storytelling style with slow pacing and spare graphics, but some bravura sequences give the story impact. Although the details of rural Eastern European Jewish life at the turn of the century ring true, the book is less rooted in a specifically explicated setting than some of Sturm's previous historical fictions, allowing Mendleman's dilemma to function as a broader metaphor for the perpetual struggle between independent creativity and impersonal market forces. (Apr.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781897299975
  • Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly
  • Publication date: 3/30/2010
  • Pages: 96
  • Sales rank: 1,451,575
  • Product dimensions: 6.70 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

James Sturm is the author of several award-winning graphic novels for children and adults, including James Sturm’s America, The Golem’s Mighty Swing and Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow. He is also the founder of the Center for Cartoon Studies and the National Association for Comics Art Educators.  He created Adventures in Cartooning with collaborators Alexis Frederic-Frost and Andrew Arnold. Sturm, his wife, and two daughters live in White River Junction, Vermont.

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