Farm 54 contains three stories, collaborations between a writer, Galit, and her brother, Gilad, an illustrator. The stories can feel heavy-handed but in contrast with the light touch of the sketches the effect is poignant and romantic. Familiar growing pains are set against a 1970’s and ’80s Israeli background: childhood on a the family farm, working at an egg factory, phone calls from a father away at war, enlisting in the army, and a military operation. Each page has only three illustrations of black lines blocked in with rosy lavender, black, and the cream paper. The drawings are frameless and often stand alone without words, emphasizing the fact that although most things go unsaid in life, facial expressions and setting supply ample testimony for the observant reader. Both siblings draw upon visual and emotional memories for these semi-autobiographical stories, which aim to be self-reflective and honest. The book concludes with a supplemental chapter, “Behind Farm 54,” with family photographs and a dialogue between Gilad and Galit discussing their writing process and the facts versus fictions in the stories.
Sam White lives in Brooklyn and is from San Francisco and Bakersfield, CA.
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