The promise of having a collection of Jewish-Israeli short stories in graphic novel format was exactly what I was seeking.
Farm 54 is a collection of three semi-autobiographical stories addressing three important periods in the life of the protagonist, Noga, born at the start of the 1970’s and growing up in Israel’s rural periphery. Substitute Lifeguard (1981) finds her towards the end of her childhood as she experiences a family trauma, a blessing and a birthday. Spanish Perfume (1983) brings her to teenage in the wake of the First Lebanon War whilst Houses (1989) portrays her passage to adulthood and hence military service in the occupied territories.
Though for the most of my reading experience I wasn’t particularly engaged in the storyline, I found the last tale, centering around Noga entering her IDF service, to be such an eye-opener. There’s a lot I’ve yet to discover in the details of one’s IDF service, so Houses, in its brief page-time, delivered a lot of knowledge for me.
The graphic novel as a whole relies a lot on telling stories without words in the way of silent/wordless graphic novels; it made for plenty of poignant, quiet, and pondering moments to take in. But the true star of this show has got to be the art and its stroke of minimalism.
In the end, I was left with a sense of stillness in my mind that is hard to come by in books nowadays. I would love to pick up Tsav 8 by Gilad Seliktar next.