Sunday, 12 January 2014


(from the HARDtalk Virtual Tour at Millarworld, 2012)
...Barry Deutsch sent me a copy of his hardcover HEREVILLE: HOW MIRKA GOT HER SWORD. He actually got in touch with me because he was a childhood friend of one of Stan Drake's sons and, I guess, thought he should mention something to me since he had been reading glamourpuss. It turns out that it was one of Lainie's two sons -- Lainie was Drake's third wife -- from a previous marriage. I didn't figure that out until Eddie Khanna sent me a Drake news clipping with a photo of him and Lainie. So THAT's Lainie! With mere scraps of biographical information about Drake available, anything that does come in lights up like a Christmas tree for me.

Anyway, HEREVILLE is a very interesting book because the central cast are Orthodox Jews which -- apart from explaining some of the more esoteric Jewish cultural references and translating the Yiddish terms interspersed through the dialogue -- is just addressed in a very matter-of-fact way: the best kind of multiculturalism. Here's another culture. They aren't a zoo exhibit, they're just not like you. I would hope on that basis alone that HEREVILLE would find its way into many goyim school libraries.

It's a charmingly a told tale. Barry's style reminds me a lot of Craig Thompson and Joe Sacco and the early Ed Brubaker. Of course, Barry gets into different areas when he brings in a dybbuk. I mean, it's Alan Moore territory, of which I'm not terribly fond, particularly in approximation to Orthodox religious cultures. I've read the book a couple of times and I want to read it again when I write Barry a letter commenting on it. I think he does a very good job of keeping well to..."this side"?... of the 50-yard line between God and his adversary. Unlike, say, what Craig Thompson himself did in HABIBI which seemed to plunge over into the adversary side of things and then sit there splashing gleefully about in the infernal mud. Since you're making up Orthodox people, I think a certain amount of caution and restraint is called for to not actively insult them with something...let's face're just making up. If you're documenting actual people and events, that's a different thing. As long as your research is sound and you're documenting an Orthodox person and the things they did and said cast them in a bad light, well, that's fair comment.

As you can see, a very thought-provoking book and one I'm happy to have in the Off-White House Library, especially signed, personalized and with a head sketch. For which I owe Barry a copy of CHURCH & STATE I in the same condition.
Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword (2010)
Hereville: How Mirka Met A Meteorite (2012)
by Barry Deutsch

1 comment:

Barry Deutsch said...

Wow! Thanks for posting!