Unterzakhn by Leela Corman

82%

9 Critic Reviews

Both a work of social realism and a fable with a moral.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

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.

 

About Leela Corman

See more books from this Author
LEELA CORMAN has illustrated books on subjects ranging from urban gardening to the history of the skirt, and her work has also appeared in The New York Times, on WNET/Thirteen, and in The Boston Phoenix, Lilith, Bust, and Tikkun. She studied painting, printmaking, and illustration at Massachusetts College of Art. Leela is also a professional belly dancer. Her radio show, "Ecstacy to Frenzy" airs weekly on GROWRadio. She lives in Florida. Visit Leela: http://www.leelacorman.com.
 
Published April 3, 2012 by Schocken. 208 pages
Genres: Comics & Graphic Novels, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction
Bookmark Counts:
5
Want to Read
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for Unterzakhn
All: 9 | Positive: 7 | Negative: 2

Kirkus

Excellent
Mar 15 2012

Both a work of social realism and a fable with a moral.

Read Full Review of Unterzakhn | See more reviews from Kirkus

Publishers Weekly

Excellent
Feb 06 2012

Overall, though, the story of Fanya and Esther’s struggles is beautifully drawn and hard to forget.

Read Full Review of Unterzakhn | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

Book Reporter

Excellent
Reviewed by John Hogan on Mar 24 2012

Unterzakhn works on multiple levels. . .and as such, it’s highly recommended.

Read Full Review of Unterzakhn

City Book Review

Excellent
Reviewed by Kevin Brown on Apr 27 2012

Leela Corman is fantastic at capturing a wonderful feel for the story with both her writing and art.

Read Full Review of Unterzakhn

SF Site

Excellent
Reviewed by Rick Klaw

Corman produces an exceptional portrayal, deserving of much laudatory praise and acclaim, of immigrant and Jewish life. . .

Read Full Review of Unterzakhn

Baltimore City Paper

Excellent
Reviewed by Laura Dattaro on Mar 28 2012

Unterzakhn is a quick read, but a meaningful one, and is yet another tick mark on Corman’s long list of successes.

Read Full Review of Unterzakhn

Critical Mob

Excellent
Reviewed by Phil Guie

. . .despite its many tragic moments, the mood of the book is never as dark as it could be thanks to Corman's visual style. . .

Read Full Review of Unterzakhn

The Snipe News

Below average
Reviewed by Shawn Conner on Apr 16 2012

If I have a complaint it’s that Corman’s art, which is often graceful but can also be crude, doesn’t always serve the story.

Read Full Review of Unterzakhn

Plymouth Staff Choices

Below average
Reviewed by Katy on May 01 2012

There’s a lot of blood and unglamorous nudity, though not as much actual sex shown as one might expect for a book starring a prostitute.

Read Full Review of Unterzakhn

Reader Rating for Unterzakhn
75%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 10 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review

Reader reviews & activity

Kristina Balaam

Kristina Balaam 5 Sep 2013

Added the book to want to read list

Ariel Watson

Ariel Watson 5 Sep 2013

Added the book to want to read list

Valentina Gorla

Valentina Gorla 5 Sep 2013

Added the book to want to read list

Tara Leigh

Tara Leigh 5 Sep 2013

Added the book to want to read list

Jesse wright

Jesse wright 5 Sep 2013

Added the book to want to read list

×