A Holocaust survivor struggles to let go of the past
Miriam Katin has the light hand of a master storyteller in this flowing, expressive, full-color masterpiece. A Holocaust survivor and mother, Katin’s world is turned upside down by the news that her adult son is moving to Berlin, a city she’s villainized for the past forty years. As she struggles to accept her son’s decision, she visits the city twice, first to see her son and then to attend a museum gala featuring her own artwork. What she witnesses firsthand is a city coming to terms with its traumatic past, much as Katin is herself. Letting It Go is a deft and careful balance: wry, self-deprecating anecdotes counterpoint a serious account of the myriad ways trauma inflects daily existence, both for survivors and for their families.
Katin’s first book, We Are On Our Own, was a memoir of her childhood, detailing how she and her mother hid in the Hungarian countryside, disguising themselves as a peasant woman and her illegitimate child in order to escape the Nazis. The stunning story, along with Katin’s gorgeous pencil work, immediately garnered acclaim in the comics world and beyond. With Letting It Go, Katin’s storytelling and artistic skills allow her to explore a voice and perspective like no other found in the medium.
Praise for Letting It Go
This is heavy material, but Katin’s approach is humorous and ambivalent. Katin is a charming narrator: candid, complex, unvain.Shtetl Montreal
Katin is still (relatively) new at this particular format, and she’s produced another must read that I suspect many comics readers might not have known they must read, but, believe me, they must.Robot 6 / Comic Book Resources
The sketchy memoir that follows is Katin’s heartfelt but still playful account of coming to terms with the Holocaust’s legacy. It is a rich vein to mine, illustrated with great looping eddies of colored pencil.Publishers Weekly
[Letting It Go] is expressive, musical, and thoroughly original. Katin manages to find something new in the well-ploughed fields of Holocaust and post-Holocaust literature by sticking to a story invested in revelation, not cliché.Paste
Thoughtful and unflinching but also frequently funny, and drawn with considerable grace.National Post
Although this might sound like a serious book, there are many light moments that make it an easy read. Katin’s borderless panels have a beautiful flow to them, and many of her finely detailed establishing shots are stunning [...] It is inspiring to read a memoir by a woman in her seventies who is not only willing to share her past, but who also shows us that it is never too late to face our demons. Katin has the courage to tell her story, warts and all, and do it unconventionally with a graphic novel.MTL Review of Books
Miriam Katin’s Letting It Go is my kind of graphic memoir: loose, impressionistic, a portrait of the artist’s inner life.Los Angeles Times
It is the story of her coming to terms with his choice and her own feelings about the city. It is also funny and light-hearted, as playful as her first book was stark.Comic Book Resources
Katin eschews the use of panel borders for her gorgeously expressive color-pencil drawings, giving the narrative an irresistible flow. This… nuanced and inward-looking tale is an even greater testament to Katin’s remarkable storytelling abilities.Booklist, starred review
Katin’s colored pencils have a grounded quality, enhanced by her focus on the everyday details of her life at its best and worst.AV Club