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Belonging
Cover of Belonging
Belonging
A German Reckons with History and Home
by Nora Krug
* Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award * Silver Medal Society of Illustrators *

* Named a Best Book of the Year by The New York Times, The Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, NPR, Comics Beat, The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Kirkus Reviews, and Library Journal

This "ingenious reckoning with the past" (The New York Times), by award-winning artist Nora Krug investigates the hidden truths of her family's wartime history in Nazi Germany.
Nora Krug was born decades after the fall of the Nazi regime, but the Second World War cast a long shadow over her childhood and youth in the city of Karlsruhe, Germany. Yet she knew little about her own family's involvement; though all four grandparents lived through the war, they never spoke of it.

After twelve years in the US, Krug realizes that living abroad has only intensified her need to ask the questions she didn't dare to as a child. Returning to Germany, she visits archives, conducts research, and interviews family members, uncovering in the process the stories of her maternal grandfather, a driving teacher in Karlsruhe during the war, and her father's brother Franz-Karl, who died as a teenage SS soldier. In this extraordinary quest, "Krug erases the boundaries between comics, scrapbooking, and collage as she endeavors to make sense of 20th-century history, the Holocaust, her German heritage, and her family's place in it all" (The Boston Globe). A highly inventive, "thoughtful, engrossing" (Minneapolis Star-Tribune) graphic memoir, Belonging "packs the power of Alison Bechdel's Fun Home and David Small's Stitches" (NPR.org).
* Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award * Silver Medal Society of Illustrators *

* Named a Best Book of the Year by The New York Times, The Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, NPR, Comics Beat, The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Kirkus Reviews, and Library Journal

This "ingenious reckoning with the past" (The New York Times), by award-winning artist Nora Krug investigates the hidden truths of her family's wartime history in Nazi Germany.
Nora Krug was born decades after the fall of the Nazi regime, but the Second World War cast a long shadow over her childhood and youth in the city of Karlsruhe, Germany. Yet she knew little about her own family's involvement; though all four grandparents lived through the war, they never spoke of it.

After twelve years in the US, Krug realizes that living abroad has only intensified her need to ask the questions she didn't dare to as a child. Returning to Germany, she visits archives, conducts research, and interviews family members, uncovering in the process the stories of her maternal grandfather, a driving teacher in Karlsruhe during the war, and her father's brother Franz-Karl, who died as a teenage SS soldier. In this extraordinary quest, "Krug erases the boundaries between comics, scrapbooking, and collage as she endeavors to make sense of 20th-century history, the Holocaust, her German heritage, and her family's place in it all" (The Boston Globe). A highly inventive, "thoughtful, engrossing" (Minneapolis Star-Tribune) graphic memoir, Belonging "packs the power of Alison Bechdel's Fun Home and David Small's Stitches" (NPR.org).
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Awards-
About the Author-
  • Nora Krug's drawings and visual narratives have appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, and Le Monde diplomatique. Her short-form graphic biography, Kamikaze, about a surviving Japanese WWII pilot, was included in the 2012 editions of Best American Comics and Best American Nonrequired Reading. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Maurice Sendak Foundation, Fulbright, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, and of medals from the Society of Illustrators and the New York Art Directors Club. She is an associate professor at Parsons School of Design in New York and lives in Brooklyn with her family. Krug is the author of the graphic memoir, Belonging.
Reviews-
  • Kirkus

    Starred review from August 1, 2018
    A graphic artist of German descent tries to come to terms with her family's history before she was born.Not only was Krug too young to have memories of the Nazi era, but her parents weren't born until 1946. Yet she feels drawn to what happened before, a legacy that amounts to a search for identity, a pilgrimage to the homeland that risks guilt and shame. Neither of her parents seems to know much about their familial Nazi ties or to be inquisitive about learning more. Her father's brother had died as a teenage Nazi soldier, and their sister and her father had since been estranged. Her maternal grandfather had also served with the Nazis, and the level of his support remained something of a mystery. Krug felt blood ties to her ancestors but had no idea how deeply (or not) they had been entangled. She also felt stigmatized by the common stereotype of her as a German and what this seemed to reflect about her emotions, personality, and overall identity. The narrative is a deeply personal--and deeply moving--dive into national legacy and family history, with more text than most graphic novels and a graphic presentation that mixes documentary photographs, illustrations, and memories that predate the author's birth. Her obsession takes her from her home in Brooklyn, where she lives with her Jewish husband, to the Germany where her parents were born and raised, in search of documents and testimony. As she gets closer to something that feels like truth, she writes, "I feel a sudden pain, shallow but sharp and all-consuming as a paper cut, because even inherited memory hurts." Krug's efforts reunite a family and return to her a lost legacy.As multilayered as memory, the book intertwines text, photo, graphic art, and thematic complexity into a revelation almost as powerful for readers as it must have been for the author.

    COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    September 1, 2018

    Krug (Kamikaze) examines her past, present, and future as a German in this exquisitely illustrated and hand-lettered graphic novel. Being German has always connected Krug to the horrors of the Nazi reign of her home country, and throughout her childhood she wrestled with understanding her family's involvement in the war. Here she details conversations with her parents, long-lost and distant relatives, as well as her trip back to Germany, where she attempts to make sense of historical records, memories, and intense emotional responses as she learns the answers to questions she's been struggling with since coming to live in America 20 years ago. Photographs, letters, drawings, and thrift-store finds are included as touchstones for readers as they travel along with Krug on her journey. The entire story is tied in to the idea of heimat, the German word for the place that first forms us, and Krug's quest to determine what that means for herself and her family. VERDICT A touching story of questioning the unquestionable and finding yourself in the process. Recommended for teens and adults as well as those interested in a highly visual family examination across generations. [See Prepub Alert, 4/30/18.]--Traci Glass, Multnomah Cty. Lib., Portland, OR

    Copyright 2018 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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Belonging
Belonging
A German Reckons with History and Home
Nora Krug
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