Monday 8 December 2008

Another delectable look at Jewish life by Joann Sfar. 'The Rabbi's Cat' books concentrate on the experiences of north African jews, this book looks at jews and other outcasts in pre-WW2 Europe. A rag-tag group of runaways, outcasts and wanderers fall in together and become a klezmer band, playing Jewish folk music. The usual understated explorations of big topics, and Sfar's gloriously free-flowing line. There's a delightful afterword. Can't wait for the sequel!
Delectable is perhaps the last word I'd use here. Haunting, more like, or disturbing. This third collection of Tatsumi's work show both his art and his stories become more incisive and telling. The first story, 'Hell' tackles the demons of Hiroshima - and they're not the demons you'd expect. The title story is another highlight, if the term can be applied to anything so bleak and sordid. Elsewhere, the mood can get a bit too heavy and the stories a trifle repetitive, but when it works it's brilliant - a scathing portrait of humanity's urban misadventure.

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