Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Property by Rutu Modan

After the death of her father, Mica and her paternal grandmother Regina Segal travel to Warsaw in an attempt to claim property lost during WWII.  Regina has not been back to Poland since she was sent away to Israel before WWII.  But Regina is carrying a secret.  She has other reasons for coming to Warsaw.

Rutu Modan is the author of Exit Wounds, which is on my "to read" list and had a lot of positive buzz when it came out.  There's been lots of buzz about The Property too, and it's started showing up on "best of 2013" lists.

We have two parallel stories happening, Mica's and Regina's.  Mica doesn't know what her grandmother's actual purpose in Warsaw is.  All she knows is that her grandmother initially wanted to come to Warsaw to claim this property, but upon arrival she wants nothing to do with it.  Mica sets out to find the property herself.  She has to deal with a snoopy and interfering friend of her aunt's (who has plans of his own) and meets a young Polish man.  All while trying to figure out what on earth is going on with her grandmother.


Regina, meanwhile, pursues her real reason for coming to Poland.  She wants to find the Polish father of her son, who she hasn't seen since she was sent away to Israel after becoming pregnant.  She wants to tell him that their son is dead.  Much to Regina's surprise, Roman is now living in the apartment (the property) she grew up in.

It was a good story.  We got to see new and old love.  It was easy to both see and feel Regina's heartbreak as she remembered what her city and apartment used to look like.  We feel her sadness when Roman doesn't recognize her, now an old woman.  Mica has an emotional experience as well, meeting someone she likes, then feeling betrayed by him and trying to figure out what's going on with her grandmother.

I realized at the end, Regina never actually told Mica what happened.  She pieced most of it together herself, but we the reader knows more than anyone else, having learned everyone's stories.

Something I noticed in the art style is that everyone's eyes are dots.  Even when there are close ups of faces, the eyes are never detailed, always dots of color.  I didn't mind it, the faces were plenty expressive.  The art has a flatness to it.  For whatever reason I wanted more depth in the art, maybe because there was so much emotion in the story.

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