The Property by Rutu Modan

The Property - Rutu Modan, Jessica Cohen

This graphic novel was quite an experience. Set in modern day Warsaw Poland, a woman who grew up there before WWII returns with her granddaughter supposedly in search for their property lost during the war. But the granddaughter Mica learns that there is a deeper issue, one which touches her personally. Along the way she also manages to lose her heart.


There is so much going on in this story, yet it all gets its due as well as wraps up realistically and rather happily. The old grandmother, Regina, is a wonderful blend of touching and exasperating, for both the other characters and the reader. Yet I really came to love her and found her story and its ending extremely moving. Her reunion with Roman is no fairytale, they neither immediately recognize the other nor can they pick up where they left off. Their relationship is truly bittersweet and yet they are also still wonderful together.


For Mica, the trip is one of discovery, of her heritage, an appreciation of Warsaw and it's history with the Jews during the war, and she discovers someone she comes to love.


The book is really about the personal but it is through the personal we are able to learn about the wider history. Though you don't really notice it, you gain a lot of knowledge about the history of Warsaw (which I sadly knew little about) as well as the process its former Jewish residents go through to get their property returned to them.


I found the drawing style a bit difficult to get used to at first but the settings were marvelous and the characters were consistently done well. The text set up was also a bit hard to pick up but I liked how all capitol letters text meant the person was speaking Hebrew, italics meant Polish, and mixed case meant English. You knew what each were speaking to the other and it made for an added element. When two people talk and the listener doesn't understand, the reader gets squiggles.


A great translation, wonderfully set up, and with a touching and bittersweet story, The Property was one I couldn't put down and highly recommend.