From My Bookshelf: The Property, by Rutu Modan (trans. Jessica Cohen)

PropertyThese days, motivated in part by space constraints (I live in a New York City apartment and I’ve run out of bookshelves), and in part by financial ones, I think very hard before I buy a book. Generally speaking, I depend on libraries for many of the books that I don’t receive as review copies. And when I do buy a book, I’m often inclined to purchase the Kindle version.

All of this a preface of sorts. Because something unusual happened a few days ago. I began reading Rutu Modan’s latest book, The Property. Translated by Jessica Cohen, this graphic novel depicts a grandmother-granddaughter pair on a journey from Israel to the grandmother’s native Poland, ostensibly to investigate the reclamation of the grandmother’s former home. About two minutes into my reading, I knew that this book was something special. And even though I read the entire book in one setting, I knew that I’d want to read it again. Maybe more than once. Maybe even after it was due back in the library. So I’ve gone ahead and purchased a copy of my own: a print copy.

In short, I loved this book. But instead of writing a more complete review/description/analysis of my own, I’m going to point you to some illuminating items that are already available online. (I’ll also note that, to date, several of the five-star Goodreads reviews that I’ve read echo my own impressions.) I hope that these materials will help convince you to spend some time with The Property, too:

  • Review in Paste magazine (includes several sample pages/panels)
  • Profile of Modan in Publishers Weekly
  • Extensive interview with Modan in The Comics Journal (also includes excerpts from the book)
  • And a briefer, but still noteworthy, interview with Modan in Maisonneuve.
  • Finally, as a bonus of sorts, you might want to read through Modan’s account of “a week in culture” for The Paris Review (trans. Sivan Ben-Horin).

    8 thoughts on “From My Bookshelf: The Property, by Rutu Modan (trans. Jessica Cohen)

    1. Yes! I loved this book too. I could not put it down and neither could my husband. The voices of the characters were so clear and true and the story read like a murder mystery. Fantastic! Thanks for reminding me.

      1. Erika Dreifus says:

        Gigi–thanks so much for sharing your take. I’ve loved seeing how many others have had similar experiences to mine with this book.

    2. Wow, Erika! Your review really makes me want to read this!

      1. Erika Dreifus says:

        Let me know if you do, Helen.

    3. I am always so consumed by children’s books that I rarely get to read in the adult realm, but I may find time for this one. It looks fantastic. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

      1. Erika Dreifus says:

        It is REALLY good, Kathy!

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