Market Day

James Sturm (Drawn and Quarterly)

Mendleman, a young rug weaver waiting for his first child’s arrival, has his life thrown in disarray when he finds out the salesman he relied on has closed up shop and he can no longer get a decent price for his rugs. The story unfolds from the daybreak of one day until the next, slowly and elegantly depicted, as Mendleman leaves his pregnant wife and heads to the market. Sturm’s illustrations of the marketplace in an eastern European town are evocative and bring the market to life. Sombre browns and greys manage to show both the liveliness of the market and the heartache Mendleman feels learning that his craft will no longer make him a viable living, on the verge of starting a family. Sturm’s previous books depicted Jewish culture in early 20th-century America; with this trip to the old country, he masterfully lays out the countryside and cobblestone streets of a village in eastern Europe.

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