Friday, February 20, 2015

Fagin the Jew

Written by: Will Eisner

First line: I was born Moses Fagin, the only son of Abraham and his wife, Rachael.

Why you should read this book: An older, wiser Eisner, toward the end of his life began to examine the racist stereotypes he employed during his career as a cartoonist, and sought to make amends by telling more honest stories about his own people, the Jews. In this unusual volume, he imagines a backstory for the villain Fagin in Charles Dickens's Oliver Twist, one that recognizes the difficulties of life in Dickensian England and the paucity of opportunities for most Jews. Fagin learns crime as a child because there is no other way to survive, and even when he tries to become an upstanding citizen, a single incident sends an otherwise kind, loving, and hardworking man into a life of constant wrongdoing, for lack of any other options in survival.

Why you shouldn't read this book: You've never read Oliver Twist

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