By Margot Mifflin
Updated February 05, 1999 at 05:00 AM EST

The Jew of New York

type
  • Book

The fancifully farcical graphic novel The Jew of New York opens with a true story: politician Mordecai Noah’s failed attempt to establish a Jewish colony in upstate New York in 1825. From there, Ben Katchor (creator of the comic Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer) lets his imagination run wild, introducing a trouserless Jewish fur trader who ends up stuffed in a Manhattan museum; an entrepreneur who dreams of carbonating Lake Erie; and a Hebrew-speaking American Indian who performs live. Loosely stitched together, Katchor’s absurdist 19th-century vignettes may lose some readers along the way. But his cinematic drawings, eye for period detail, and dry asides will keep Katchor devotees riveted. B

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The Jew of New York

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