A Jew In Communist Prague Loss of Innocence 1 NM Vittorio Giardino NBM


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A Jew in Communist Prague: Loss of Innocence (v. 1) Paperback
by Vittorio Giardino (Author)

A brilliantly written graphic novel about the real human experience of living behind the iron curtain from one of Italy’s leading comic artists.

A graphic novel of life under Communism in 1950s Prague. The main character is a Jewish boy whose father has been arrested in the middle of the night. He and his mother write letters to obtain the father’s release, but that only brings more trouble. In Czechoslovakia in 1950 a young boy and his father spy a cicada while on a picnic in the woods. The father notes that the insect doesn’t trust humans: “They’re not completely wrong. There are children who put them in cages. Then they stop singing and die very quickly. They can’t stand to be locked up,” he says. Two months later, without any warning and with precious little cause, the father is arrested for his supposed counterrevolutionary activities; in reality he is arrested because of the state’s anti-Semitic resentment. Thus begins Vittorio Giardino’s extraordinary masterpiece A Jew in Communist Prague. It is the story of Jonas Finkel, a boy who grows up all too soon; cares for his frantic, grieving mother; and fights off wave after wave of prejudice. There is sincerity in every one of Giardino’s lines. He writes, “I spent hours trying to write down, in a few words, a simple and honest presentation of Jonas Finkel’s story, but it just got increasingly difficult.” The result of his careful work is well worth any reader’s time.

Paperback: 48 pages
Publisher: NBM

The first in Italian cartoonist Giardino’s series about a Jewish boy growing up in Communist Prague introduces us to Jonas Finkel and his pleasant middle-class life in Prague. His professor father is arrested for allegedly being a counterrevolutionary, although the unstated truth is that he’s the victim of unofficial state anti-Semitism. The book is at its best in showing Jonas and his mother gradually sliding into poverty while they try to penetrate the state beauracracy to learn of the father’s whereabouts and sentence. When Jonas is not admitted to high school due to his father’s alleged crimes, he enters the workforce and awkwardly encounters the stirrings of hormones. The art is done in the lovely realistic style I tend to associate with European cartoonists, with appropriately washed out coloring. It’ll be great to see all the books together.

Near mint, 1st print.