Leela Corman's Unterzakhn lands on Salon.com's List of Great Graphic Novels from 2012

December 5, 2012

Unterzakhn by Leela Corman (Schocken/Pantheon, 2012) grabbed the #2 spot on Salon.com's list of the top 10 graphic novels from 2012.

Here's the review:

Twin sisters in early-20th-century New York's Lower East Side meet very different fates as they grow to adulthood in the roaring '20s. Corman's title, Yiddish for "underwear," alludes to the way each girl's life is determined by sex, men and the vulnerability and power inherent in the female body. Fanya becomes the apprentice of a "lady-doctor" (a sort of amateur OB-GYN), but bridles at her mentor's puritanical refusal to provide contraception and other care to unmarried women. Esther, dazzled by the stage, becomes a maid and eventually the star performer at a burlesque house that doubles as a brothel. (There's also a flashback interlude depicting their gentle father's flight from the pogroms in Russia.) Corman's bold, simple art can nevertheless display remarkable subtlety and for all the intimacy of its subject matter, "Unterzakhn" conveys a sumptuously textured swath of Jewish immigrant life at that time.


Posted by waleslit on December 5, 2012

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