In Rutu Modan’s The Property, Mica and her grandmother, Regina are traveling from Israel to Warsaw, Poland. Just before World War II Regina had married and moved to Israel. Years later, as the only surviving member of her family, she was contacted and inform that she was entitled to reclaim her family’s property. For twenty years she left the property unclaimed, but following the death of her son and Mica’s father, Reuben, she decided to make the trip.
Returning to Warsaw, Regina is overwhelmed with the guilt and shame of a long hidden family secrets. Modan beautifully illustrates how our perceptions of ourselves and our world are shaped by cultural and personal histories, and The Property successfully (and subtly) exposes the generational divide in a family and in a city. With charming illustrations reminiscent of Hergé’s Tintin and a witty sense of humor, The Property is a graphic novel sure to win over some skeptics of the genre. I would recommend to fans of Maus by Art Spiegelman, Unterzakhn by Leela Corman, or Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi.