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Letting It Go Hardcover – March 19, 2013


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Letting It Go + We Are On Our Own: A Memoir + Unterzakhn
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Drawn and Quarterly (March 19, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1770461035
  • ISBN-13: 978-1770461031
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 7.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #66,639 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Katin, a Holocaust survivor who told the harrowing story of her family’s survival in her 2006 graphic memoir, We Are on Our Own, carries an understandable prejudice against all things German; so when her son Ilan announced that he was moving to Berlin to live with his girlfriend there, it set off a visceral, panicked reaction that she recounts in this wise and funny work. With wry self-awareness and sardonic humor, Katin depicts her reluctant, resentful efforts to deal with her son’s decision as she makes a pair of visits to the city, one to visit Ilan and another to attend an art show featuring her comics work (as her ever-patient musician husband observes, “If Barenboim can be there, so can you”). She even learns the German word for her struggle: vergangenheitsbewältigung—coming to terms with the past. Katin eschews the use of panel borders for her gorgeously expressive color-pencil drawings, giving the narrative an irresistible flow. As well told as it was, much of the power of We Are on Our Own came from its inherently dramatic story; this more nuanced and inward-looking tale is an even greater testament to Katin’s remarkable storytelling abilities. --Gordon Flagg

Review

“[Letting It Go is] thoughtful and unflinching but also frequently funny, and drawn with considerable grace.” —National Post

“Miriam Katin’s Letting It Go is my kind of graphic memoir: loose, impressionistic, a portrait of the artist’s inner life.” —Los Angeles Times

Letting It Go is a moving, funny look inside the artist’s thought processes as she reckons with her past and decides whether she’s going to live out her golden years in a spirit of resentment or forgiveness.” —AV Club

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jill Meyer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 13, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Miriam Katin is a Hungarian-born Holocaust survivor who lives with her husband in New York. She is an artist and her husband is a musician. Born in 1942 in Budapest, Miriam and her mother went into hiding in the Hungarian countryside, posing as a Christian woman and her daughter, after the Germans invaded the country in 1944. She has written a previous book, "We Are On Our Own", which depicts in graphic-style the life she and her mother lived til the war was over.

I haven't read many graphic novels; Katin's might be the fifth or sixth. I can't really comment on the art except to say it is drawn mostly in pencil - both gray and colored - and is very appealing to the eye. The story, though, is what really sets "Letting It Go" off from many works of Holocaust literature.

Miriam Katin's book is about the journey she made - both in body and in spirit - to the city of Berlin, first in 2005 and another trip a year or so later. She had grown up as a hater of Germany and all things German. (And who would blame her?) When she was in her late 60's, her son, Ilan, told her and her husband that he had decided to settle in Berlin and was trying to adopt EU citizenship. Would she claim him as the child of a Hungarian citizen so he could claim EU status. (Even though Katin had US citizenship, she was still considered Hungarian by her place-of-birth. The exact details of this are a bit sketchy in the book.) Faced with examining her past by Ilan's request and talking it over with her mother - the woman who had saved her life during the war - she decided to go through the onerous process of the paperwork. Next up was a trip to Berlin with her husband to visit her son and his girlfriend.

The balance of the book/art is about her visits to Berlin.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A voracious reader on March 21, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I also own Miriam Katin's previous book and this one is equally-wonderful. Not only is the art beautiful, but the story is compelling and it's all true. Ms. Katin possesses both the artistic talent and the heartfelt manner in which to convey very poignant aspects of her life.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By GraphicNovelReporter.com on June 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover
"Good thing I recently accepted the dry martini as my personal savior."

That is Miriam Katin's reaction to hearing the news that her son was about to settle permanently in Berlin, Germany. Germany --- no matter how hard she tries, Katin can't overcome the intense feelings the very word evokes in her. Her son asks her to complete a form, which will convey citizenship in the EU upon him based on the fact that his mother was born in Hungary. But after he sees what it is doing to her --- how the very presence of the form is hurting her --- he pulls it away. "I threw it into the trash," he notes. "I can't ask this. I see what it's doing to you." It's one of the multitude of beautiful moments throughout Letting It Go, a graphic memoir so tinged with humor and sorrow that it can break the heart and then heal it within the space of just a few panels.

"The building we live in is breathing sorrow," Katin writes at one point. As her comic character gazes on a collection of furniture, art, and more thrown on the street outside her apartment building, she remarks, "Somebody else died." The panel caption simply states: "Here is the detritus of lives long past usefulness."

That is only scratching the surface in terms of the layers of privacy and intimacy peeled back by Katin as she relates the story of visiting Berlin in Letting It Go. Katin is bold, fearless, and never one to shy away from cold, hard truth, particularly when it can reveal the elements of human experience. Her relentless honestly makes Letting It Go compelling and nearly impossible to put down. Just when you think you know how Katin is going to relate to her surroundings --- and the history that brought her to them --- she surprises you, and you laugh. Or wince.

Katin's artwork is incredible as well, depicting color and movement and style with effortless grace. Each page is a wonderful joy to behold.

-- John Hogan
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