Title: Klezmer, Book One: Tales of the Wild East
Writer and Artist: Joann Sfar
|via Sequart Research & Literary Organization|
If we have a favorite comic book artist at our house, it is most certainly Frenchman Joann Sfar. My Wife first discovered his Rabbi's Cat series (reviews here and here), which, like Klezmer, is definitely for adults. Next, she found more kid-friendly titles for our daughter: Little Vampire (review here) and Sardine (which I have not read). Sfar's playful irreverence holds great appeal for all three of us.
Sfar draws a great deal of his material from his own Jewish heritage. As the title would suggest, Klezmer follows the adventures of Jewish musicians in Czarist Russia - Ukraine, to be specific. The book begins with two separate story strands which merge by the end of Book One. First, the Baron is the only survivor when his own klzezmer band is slaughtered by the members of another. After exacting his revenge, he is unexpectedly followed in his escape by Chava, a young woman running away from the village and her own undesirable marriage options. The Baron reluctantly accepts her companionship and indulges Chava by teaching her to sing.
Meanwhile, in the second strand, Yaacov is banned from his yeshiva for stealing the rabbi's coat. He discovers the remains of the Baron's band-mates and, most important to future plot development, takes all of the still usable instruments. He doesn't play himself but imagines they might come in handy. In his travels, he encounters the sleepwalker Vincenzo and the gypsy Tshokola. Fortunately for Yaacov, his new friends are much better musicians than he. They teach him to play and a new band is formed.
There are three more Klezmer books which have yet to be translated to English. Book Two is to be entitled Happy Birthday, Scylla (Bon anniversaire Scylla en Français). I shall definitely keep an eye out for it.
Please join us and share your own review of your best read from the past month. This month's link list is below. I'll keep it open until the end of the day. I'll post October's tomorrow. Meetings are the last Friday of each month. Next gathering is October 25th.