So this graphic novel came heavily recommended to me by @mentalexotica and I absolutely and most certainly take her recommendations very seriously – more so when it comes to graphic novels. She doesn’t miss them and is bang on with what she likes or loves most of the time. I read the book in half an hour (it was her copy), but the memory of it will stay and linger for longer than that.
“Market Day” as the title suggests is about a day in the market. It is about art and commerce as seen in the market by a Jewish rug-maker in early twentieth-century.
This graphic novel goes deeper than this for sure. The story of Mendleman in an Eastern-European village is exquisite and told with such finesse by James Sturm. The palette is sepia-infused and doesn’t change and yet the changes (if any) are clear. Sturm takes the reader on Mendleman’s journey through the market as he plans to sell his rugs and leads nowhere. Along the way, he meets his friends, is unable to sell his rugs, gets drunk and decides to sell his loom and do something else.
What is most touching and empathic at the same time, is that he will become a father soon – perhaps the next morning and he is in a state of utter confusion – he has to provide for his family and is most certainly disillusioned by what he sees around him and yet he must continue soldering on – if he wants to that is.
The illustrations are beautiful and stark. The pull between life and death, nurture and a sense of nonchalance, the need to keep going and the longing to give it all up – the contrasts are beautifully illustrated and at some point it ceases to be just the story of one man – but of all of us – because we all seem to have experienced it one time or the other: The sense of alienation, to give it all up and yet to keep going because something or the other always will provide for us, in some way or the other. I urge you to read this. Strongly at that.