Batch of rave reviews for Unterzakhn.

“Corman produces an exceptional portrayal, deserving of much laudatory praise and acclaim, of immigrant and Jewish life on par with the works of Will Eisner and Art Spiegelman.”



“Corman has an ear for dialogue and a loose, curvilinear brush-line that makes reading her work a pleasure.”

—The Boston Phoenix


“Captivating. . . . A sweetly sad story, illustrating the difficulty of life in the early twentieth century as seen through the eye of a specific subculture. . . . Corman never shies away from harshness in either her story or her illustrations, but she handles it with grace. Unterzakhn is a quick read, but a meaningful one.”

—Baltimore City Paper


“An incredible book about twin sisters growing up on New York’s Lower East Side in the early twentieth century. It’s about the experience and struggles of women, the immigrant experience, and it’s just brimming with life. . . . Wow.”



Unterzakhn works on multiple levels (one notable one: the art work is fantastic, particularly when Corman infuses any of her female characters with a snarl or a sneer, conveying a lifetime of pent-up emotion in a single panel), and as such, it’s highly recommended.”



“Corman’s caricatures are striking and distinctive, making the exaggerated characters come alive, and she provides a great, detailed view of the times. . . . She does an excellent job of dropping the reader into this particular time and place. Although a period piece, the underlying concerns, especially those related to a woman’s control of her own body, remain particularly timely.”



“In the footsteps of Art Spiegelman comes Leela Corman.  Like the renowned creator of Maus, she employs the graphic novel form, but rather than address the Holocaust she is addressing the Jewish immigrant experience on the Lower East Side in the early twentieth century.”

The Jewish Week (New York)


“Both a work of social realism and a fable with a moral.”



“Historically informed and aesthetically compelling . . . Heavily inked cartoons beautifully depict period details and the Hester Street gossips as times evolve, and show how the two sisters’ similarities change into stark differences in appearance as they age.  The text, salted with Yiddish, and the eloquently detailed images meld together to make this a good choice for readers who enjoyed Eleanor Widmer’s Up from Orchard Street or Hubert and Kerascoet’s Miss Don’t Touch Me.”



“Set in New York’s Lower East Side in the early twentieth century, Unterzakhn follows the lives of two sisters, Fanya and Esther . . . Corman gracefully traces both young women’s efforts to maintain control of their bodies in an unpredictable and at times violent world. She steeps her striking black-and-white artwork with period details, particularly in the clothes and the bustling street scenes.  In a flashback scene set in Russia, especially, she echoes the swirling evocative style of Russian folk art . . . The story of Fanya and Esther’s struggles is beautifully drawn and hard to forget.”

—Publishers Weekly


“Lures you in with wittiness and sensuality . . . then bites you in the tuchus!  Unterzakhn swirls with the energy of Almodóvar and the depth of Dostoyevsky as it follows the fates of two charmingly complicated twin sisters.  I loved it.”

—Craig Thompson, author of Habibi




by Leela Corman

Schocken Books

on-sale:  April 3, 2012


print ISBN:  978-0-8052-4259-1

eBook ISBN:  978-0-8052-1254-9

See Leela on tour in Boston, NYC, Philadelphia, Portland, Seattle, SF:


Unterzakhn Tour Schedule:

Tuesday, April 3—Brooklyn, NY

7:00 pm –       WORD bookstore event. 126 Franklin Street.


Wednesday, April 4—Boston, MA

7:00 pm –       Brookline Booksmith event. 279 Harvard St. Brookline.


Thursday, April 5—NYC

6:30 pm –       Tenement Talks event at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, co-sponsored by the Center for Cultural Judaism. 103 Orchard Street (at Delancey). RSVP requested (


Monday, April 9—Portland, OR

7:30 pm –       Powell’s Books event. 1005 W. Burnside.


Tuesday, April 10—Seattle, WA

7:00 pm –       Elliott Bay Books event. 1521 10th Ave.


Wednesday, April 11— San Francisco, CA

5:00 pm –       Comix Experience event. 305 Divisadero Street.


Thursday, April 12— San Francisco, CA

7:00 pm –       Cartoon Art Museum of San Francisco event. 655 Mission Street.


Monday, April 16—Gainesville, FL

7:00 pm –       B&N Gainesville (store #1972) event. 3910 S.W. Archer Road.


Thursday, April 26—Philadelphia, PA

7:30 pm –       Philadelphia Free Library event with David Bezmozgis/Free World. 1901 Vine Street Logan Square.


Saturday, April 28 and Sunday, April 29—NYC

MoCCA Festival book signing.