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Unterzakhn

Corman, Leela (Book - 2012)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Unterzakhn
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"A mesmerizing, heartbreaking graphic novel of immigrant life on New York's Lower East Side at the turn of the twentieth century, as seen through the eyes of twin sisters whose lives take radically and tragically different paths. For six-year-old Esther and Fanya, the teeming streets of New York's Lower East Side circa 1910 are both a fascinating playground and a place where life's lessons are learned quickly and often cruelly. In drawings that capture both the tumult and the telling details of that street life, Unterzakhn (Yiddish for 'Underthings') tells the story of these sisters: as wide-eyed little girls absorbing the sights and sounds of a neighborhood of struggling immigrants; as teenagers taking their own tentative steps into the wider world (Esther working for a woman who runs both a burlesque theater and a whorehouse, Fanya for an obstetrician who also performs illegal abortions); and, finally, as adults battling for their own piece of the 'golden land,' where the difference between just barely surviving and triumphantly succeeding involves, for each of them, painful decisions that will have unavoidably tragic repercussions" -- from publisher's web site.
Authors: Corman, Leela
Statement of Responsibility: Leela Corman
Title: Unterzakhn
Publisher: New York : Schocken Books, 2012
Characteristics: 203 p. : chiefly ill. ; 24 cm.
Summary: "A mesmerizing, heartbreaking graphic novel of immigrant life on New York's Lower East Side at the turn of the twentieth century, as seen through the eyes of twin sisters whose lives take radically and tragically different paths. For six-year-old Esther and Fanya, the teeming streets of New York's Lower East Side circa 1910 are both a fascinating playground and a place where life's lessons are learned quickly and often cruelly. In drawings that capture both the tumult and the telling details of that street life, Unterzakhn (Yiddish for 'Underthings') tells the story of these sisters: as wide-eyed little girls absorbing the sights and sounds of a neighborhood of struggling immigrants; as teenagers taking their own tentative steps into the wider world (Esther working for a woman who runs both a burlesque theater and a whorehouse, Fanya for an obstetrician who also performs illegal abortions); and, finally, as adults battling for their own piece of the 'golden land,' where the difference between just barely surviving and triumphantly succeeding involves, for each of them, painful decisions that will have unavoidably tragic repercussions" -- from publisher's web site.
Subject Headings: Twin sisters Comic books, strips, etc Immigrants New York (State) New York Comic books, strips, etc Lower East Side (New York, N.Y.) Comic books, strips, etc Jews New York (State) New York Comic books, strips, etc
Genre/Form: Graphic novels
Jewish graphic novels
Topical Term: Twin sisters
Immigrants
Jews
Jews
Local Subject Heading: Jews Lower East Side (New York, N.Y.) Comic books, strips, etc
LCCN: 2011043769
ISBN: 9780805242591
0805242597
Branch Call Number: GRAPHIC GN FIC C
Research Call Number: *PSY 12-524
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This new graphic novel depicts immigrant life on the Lower East Side at the beginning of the 20th century.


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Apr 30, 2013
  • klutzrick rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Corman's absorbing book follows the lives of twin sisters Esther and Fanya, the children of Russian Jews, on the teeming streets of New York's Lower East Side. Beginning in 1909 when the six-year-old girls work alongside their seamstress mother, the tale follows each of their divergent lives. The young Fanya attracts the attention of the "lady-doctor" Bronia, who performs illegal abortions. Bronia teaches her how to read and mentors Fanya in the medical arts. Corman's evocative portrayal of health care for women in those pre-Roe v. Wade days effectively showcases why abortion must remain legal. Esther finds paying work for a woman who runs a burlesque theater and a whorehouse. While there, she learns about and eventually relies on her sexuality to find her place in society. Unterzakhn (Yiddish for "Underthings") follows the twins throughout their lives, chronicling their loves, successes, failures, and losses, while exploring the roles -- sexual, intellectual, familial -- of women. Corman produces an exceptional portrayal, deserving of much laudatory praise and acclaim, of immigrant and Jewish life on par with the works of Will Eisner and Art Spiegelman.

Feb 16, 2013
  • LauralLibrarian rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Beautiful stunning artwork and moving story. Loved it!

Apr 26, 2012
  • LittleLady2011 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I just finished reading this and I loved it. How writes like this? Leela Corman, that's who! A story of two sisters growing up in lower Manhattan, which deals with family secrets, migration, prostitution, etc...

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May 07, 2012
  • MrsIcarusPain rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

MrsIcarusPain thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

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