Harper Academic

Heavyweight

A Family Story of the Holocaust, Empire, and Memory

by Solomon J. Brager

On Sale: 06/25/2024

Price: $26.99

Heavyweight

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Heavyweight

A Family Story of the Holocaust, Empire, and Memory

by Solomon J. Brager

On Sale: 06/25/2024

Format:

Price: $26.99

About the Book

A moving and provocative graphic memoir exploring inherited trauma, family history, and the ever-shifting understanding of our own identities, for readers of Gender Queer and I Was Their American Dream.

Solomon Brager grew up with accounts of their great-grandparents’ escape from Nazi Germany, told over and over until their understanding of self was bound up with the heroic details of their ancestors’ exploits. Their great-grandmother related how her husband, a boxing champion, thrashed Joseph Goebbels and cleared beer halls of Nazis with his fists, how she broke him out of an internment camp and carried their children over the Pyrenees mountains. But that story was never the whole picture; zooming out, everything becomes more complicated.

Alongside the Levis’ propulsive journey across Europe and to the United States, Brager distills fascinating research about the Holocaust and connected periods of colonial history. Heavyweight asks us to consider how the patterns of history emerge and reverberate, not as a simple chain of events but in haunting layers. Confronting the specters of violence as both historian and descendent, this book is an exploration of family mythology, intergenerational memory, and the mark the past makes on the present.

In conversation with works by Rebecca Hall, Nora Krug, Rutu Modan, and Leela Corman, Heavyweight will contribute to the collective work of Holocaust studies and the chronicle of woven human stories.

Critical Praise

"An intense, brilliantly conceived graphic memoir announcing the arrival of a new talent to watch.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“[An] eye-opening graphic memoir debut… Brager compels readers to look at atrocities in the world around them… This brilliant and incisive work takes stock of the intermingled horror, humor, and pathos of history.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Really profound and alive...beautifully drawn, painted, and felt.” — Tom Hart, New York Times #1 bestselling graphic novelist, author of Rosalie Lightning

"Filled with equal parts tragedy, humor, and inter-generational anxiety, Heavyweight is a Holocaust memoir for the grandchildren. From the global to the personal, history expands and contracts under Brager's pen. I couldn't put it down." — Malcolm Harris, author of Palo Alto

"Heavyweight raises the bar of what we can expect from nonfiction comics.”  — Sara Lautman, The New Yorker cartoonist

“I learned so much from Heavyweight. As Sol presents their family’s story, I felt like I was sharing in their process of discovery, exploring the nuances of memory, research, trauma, and, yes, boxing. Sol’s beautiful, hand-drawn and painted comics weave together sweeping historical narrative with family stories of resistance and escape. Heavyweight is nonfiction comics at its best.”  — Dan Nott, artist and author of Hidden Systems

“Rendered with loving elegance, Heavyweight is an exquisite project of excavation and memory-work, an act of compassionate and pinpoint scholarship. Brager zooms in and out of history seamlessly, weighing their own reckoning with ancestry and trauma, and provides us, as a result, with a hefty testimony to the power of comics to act as witness to generations of lived experience.” — Bishakh Som, author of Apsara Engine and Spellbound

Heavyweight is a moving graphic memoir that intertwines family history with the author’s struggle for understanding, uncovering more questions than answers…This is an impressive layering of complicated insights and personal discovery, and Brager deftly uses comics to explore these complex ideas.”  — Jennifer Camper, cartoonist and director of the Queers & Comics Conferences

“[An] introspective visual memoir… The deeper Brager reaches into Erich’s past, the more questions they have about the intersectionality of historical artifacts and ethical responsibility, of those who avert their gaze unless touched by exigent circumstances. A slow, emotional buildup develops when Brager’s haunting and mesmerizing scavenger hunt through the annals of memory reveals the ugly cracks in humanity’s desperate attempts at survival.” — Booklist

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Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780063205956
  • ISBN 10: 0063205955
  • Imprint: William Morrow Paperbacks
  • On Sale: 06/25/2024
  • Trimsize: 6.000 in (w) x 9.000 in (h) x 0.720 in (d)
  • Pages: 336
  • List Price: $26.99
  • BISAC1 : COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS: Nonfiction / History
  • BISAC2 : COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS / LGBT
  • BISAC3 : COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS / Nonfiction / Biography & Memoir