Adolescence (Jew in Communist Prague) (v. 2)

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9781561631971: Adolescence (Jew in Communist Prague) (v. 2)

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

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Review:

The second volume of Italian master cartoonist Vittorio Giardino's powerful A Jew in Communist Prague finds the main character, Jonas Finkel, still patiently waiting for word on his father's imprisonment. After much ill luck at a variety of odd jobs, Jonas finds employment first as a working-class laborer and then at a bookstore, where he can again pursue his love of books (his education was previously stunted by the racially motivated actions of the state). The beauty of Adolescence--even more than Giardino's wonderfully realistic drawings--is in the relationships he reveals: Jonas's friendship with a kind, middle-aged drunk in the labor yards; the supportive fatherly role of the bookstore owner; and Jonas's awkward connection to a group of young radicals bent on reading anything and everything that the government bans. Giardino lays down slices of life like jewels along a dusty path.

From Kirkus Reviews:

The second volume in Giardinos poignant graphic narrative of growing up under Communist rule in postwar Prague lives up to the clean elegance of its first (rev. 5/1/97). Giardino's beautiful background art of Prague architecture contrasts with the sad tale in the foreground: a young man's tortured adolescence made worse by having his father imprisoned as an enemy of the state. The rush of events, both personal and political, flash by in near-wordless frames: Jonas, kicked out of school, gets a job in construction; Stalin dies; Jonas finds better work in a bookstore; the Czech ministry renews its campaign against counter-revolutionaries. The humanity of everyday Czechs is apparent in the sympathetic faces drawn with perfection by Giardino, from the beery plumber, Slavek, to the kindly bookstore owner, Pinkel. Jonas's self-pity reveals itself when he falls for a pretty girl, herself part of a group of young people who read forbidden books for sheer ``mental survival.'' Visually compelling and historically resonant, Giardino's full- color narrative is evolving into a masterwork of its kind. -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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