Thursday, June 08, 2006

Miriam Katin, II

We Are on Our Own, Miriam Katin's new memoir from Drawn & Quarterly, is a difficult, beautiful, and compelling book. Katin is a humane and talented artist whose layered pencilling style makes her depictions of her extraordinary life experiences accessible to the reader.

In a note at the end of the book she writes:
This book is the story of our escape and hiding during the year of 1944-1945. I could somehow imagine the places and the people my mother told me about, but a real sense of myself as a small child and the reality of the fear and confusion of those times I could understand only by reading the last few letters and postcards my mother had written to my father. They survived the war with him.

While answering questions at the Rittenhouse Square Barnes and Noble yesterday evening, Katin self-deprecatingly described herself as an illustrator rather than as an artist, with her explanation being that this was fitting since she had received no formal artistic education.

Reading her remarkable work, I have to admit that the distinction utterly eludes me.

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