stephanie's Reviews > In the Shadow of No Towers

In the Shadow of No Towers by Art Spiegelman
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Mar 08, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: history-memory, 2008, memoirs, graphic-novels-comics
Read in March, 2008

i don't think i could have read this when it first came out, even if it was three years after 9/11. there is something about Art Spiegelman's work that is profoundly affecting, in ways that i can relate to.

he lives in lower manhattan, and witnessed the attacks first hand. his black-on-black work ran as the cover of the new yorker days after the attacks. he talks about his struggle to understand the crisis, to understand and have faith in his country - especially when the decision to go to war happens (the "irakind" is one of my favorite panels - it's a bug with saddam hussein's head).

he is not afraid of showing his cynicism and his fear, and i very much appreciate that. i see so much of my own story in these giant pages, and then at the end, he reflect on the history of comix. i hid in movie theaters, he hid behind old cartoons. and what's amazing is how many of the comix at the turn of the century are relevant today - and also, how sept. 11, 1901 was a pretty terrible year for the world also (mckinley shot and not getting better, the pope still recovering from being shot, emma goldman arrested) and the fact that we still move on.

but what i think was most moving was when he said he finally understood why so many jews didn't flee germany after kristallnacht. a place becomes your home in ways you don't fully understand, and new york will always be something to me that i can't fully describe or pin-point, even if i leave. it's become part of me, like the memories of the falling towers and the bright blue sky and the panic and the smell. and i really, really appreciate the fact that this strange book will stand as a reminder for me; that in fact, i was so not alone in my slow failure to return to normal.

and the art - the art is incredible. reminiscent of Maus in parts, other times he borrows other comix characters. it's just stunning as a historical piece, as a memory piece, as a work of art, as a testament to our city, and as a statement about america and politics and the people that make up our country.
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