The “Marzi” series came about when a Polish woman studying in France met a comic book illustrator. Listening to her childhood recollections, he found in them the stuff of the most promising graphic novels: wonderful, zesty stories, full of freshness and emotion. The series is a collection of short stories about Poland before and after the fall of the Wall, seen through the eyes of a child who becomes a teenager and, finally, a university student.
"Before, there were trees and countryside. Man didn't intervene. Stalin decided to "rectify" that space, and now, instead of trees, there are concrete buildings, everywhere. Stalin had a factory built. Thanks to that, lots of people got jobs, like my dad." Born in 1979, Marzi is a 7-year-old Polish girl who looks wide-eyed at the world around her: her parents, her family, her school friends and the crabby women at the grocery store who don't even smile for a fruit delivery. Marzi lives on a council estate in an industrial town, and is a cheerful, carefree, mischievous and perceptive little girl, bound to run into many adventures!
One day, while visiting her family in the countryside, Marzi comes across a trail of ants, and decides to have a little fun, blocking their way with sticks and rocks. Is that what it's like to be God? In this second volume, we discover more about Marzi's fascinating life in 1980s Poland, torn between the daily stresses of near-war and even bigger questions like the existence and powers of God. Can He really see and know everything, even when she's all alone in her room, even when it's just a thought in her head? So many burning questions, with her First Communion right around the corner! Another absorbing series of stories about a little girl who loves life—even as she struggles to understand it.
"What's going on? Where is my dad? Are we at war? The city is so quiet and dark that it seems hostile and it scares me." Marzi is a little girl like any other. She plays with dolls, gets lost in the woods, covets chewing gum and ballet lessons... Except that she's growing up the behind the Iron Curtain in the 1980s, and the Soviet regime sometimes casts an unsettling shadow over her otherwise carefree childhood. But, somehow, she always manages to bounce back! Marzi's clear-eyed, playful storytelling continues in this third volume of coming-of-age tales from Communist Poland.
Marzena Sowa continues her endearing memoir recounting childhood behind the Iron Curtain in Poland. Even at the height of summer vacation deep in the countryside, the noise of urban unrest carries, bringing news of rations, strikes, and Solidarność. Amid a young girl's typical worries—the witch neighbor, the school nurse, her mother's angry temper—come the echoes of the strange and confusing world of adults.
The fall brings more than changing leaves as massive strikes in Marzi's little hometown help change the course of Polish history. She's proud of her dad, but can he come home now? Eight-year-old Marzi tries her best to keep up, but it can be hard when you keep outgrowing your shoes! With one foot in the adult world, where nothing is black and white, and one foot in the fantasies of childhood, where greyscale girls can dream in color, she puts her very own twist on everything she sees and hears. Lucky for us, she likes to tell stories.
The communists are gone, but life is still full of challenges. Both for Poland, and for 12-year-old Marzi, the strong-willed kid finding her voice in a country undergoing radical changes. As the country faces new issues like drug abuse and AIDS, Marzi's piercing gaze notices fraying seams in her own community. "What ever happened to solidarity? If you want help, you'd better not be different." Marzi is a natural champion for being different: she can't stand the new capitalist shops, or how boy-crazy her friends are becoming. Will she find a place where she can just be herself?
"This summer, my factory can send you to summer camp. To the mountains or the sea. I've never been to the sea, but now you can go for me." What awaits Marzi on the Baltic shore? It's the summer of 1992. Preteens at camp in newly-democratic Poland are crazy for Madonna, Pepsi, Russian video games... and seances. Notebook in hand, Marzi observes it all with her wry sense of humor, but that doesn't keep her from getting swept off her feet...
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