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CULTURE

Nina Bunjevac's Graphic Novel Memoir, Fatherland

A harrowing, beautifully illustrated non-fiction account of the author's lost father

by David Graver
on 15 December 2014
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Following a descent into fanaticism and an ultra-nationalist movement aiming to take down the Communist Yugoslav government, the father of author and illustrator Nina Bunjevic accidentally killed himself while attempting to make a bomb in his own garage, while on exile in Canada. This highly personal story, told with sharp perspective among striking black and white drawings, forms the core of "Fatherland"—a new graphic novel from W.W. Norton's Liveright Publishing. Nina Bunjevac was only a child at the time—and living a continent away with her mother—but the impact of the night would alter her entire life.

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"Fatherland" extends beyond this story, as Bunjevac contexualizes her father's actions within history—from the years leading up to her father's death and even the impact of WWII and Nazi occupation. The whole region and its complexity is explored with a view in mind to understand how a generation was formed. All the while, Bunjevac's detailed pen and ink cross-hatched style of drawing and shading offers visual references for the emotional depths of each character. There's an upper echelon in the world of comics, and this work stands among it.

"Fatherland" is available for pre-order on Amazon for $14, with delivery expected 19 January 2015.

Images by Cool Hunting

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