Belonging (US title) / Heimat (foreign title)
A 280-page illustrated and hand-lettered visual memoir on a German family’s memory of WWII. (See excerpts of the book and work-in-progress video below.)
Nora Krug was born decades after the fall of the Nazi regime, but the Second World War cast a long shadow throughout her childhood and youth in the city of Karlsruhe, Germany. For Nora, the simple fact of her German citizenship bound her to the Holocaust and its unspeakable atrocities and left her without a sense of cultural belonging. Yet Nora knew little about her own family’s involvement in the war: though all four grandparents lived through the war, they never spoke of it.
Now in her late thirties, after almost twenty years of living abroad (first in the UK, then in the US), Krug realizes that living away from Germany has only intensified her need to ask the questions she didn’t dare, or didn’t think to ask a child and young adult. Returning to Germany, she visits archives, conducts research, and interviews family members, uncovering in the process the stories of her maternal grandfather, a driving teacher in Karlsruhe during the war, and her father’s brother Franz-Karl, who died as a teenage SS soldier in Italy. Her extraordinary quest, spanning continents and generations, pieces together her family’s troubling story and reflects on what it means to be a German of her generation.
Belonging wrestles with the idea of Heimat, the German word for the place that first forms us, where the sensibilities and identity of one generation pass on to the next. In this highly inventive visual memoir—equal parts graphic novel, family scrapbook, and investigative narrative—Nora Krug draws on letters, archival material, flea market finds, and photographs to attempt to understand what it means to belong. A wholly original record of a German woman’s struggle with the weight of catastrophic history, Belonging is also a reflection on the responsibility that we all have as inheritors of our countries’ pasts.
National Book Critics Circle Award (Autobiography winner)
Victoria and Albert Museum Moira Gemmill Illustrator of the Year/Book Illustration Prize (winner)
Lynd Ward Graphic Novel Prize (winner)
Art Directors Club (gold cube and overall discipline winner)
Society of Illustrators (silver medal)
Literaturförderpreis Stadt Aalen (winner)
Evangelischer Buchpreis (winner)
German Youth Literature Prize (announced October 2019)
Orwell Prize for Political Writing (announced June 2019)
Longman History Today Prize (announced July 2019)
Angoulême International Comics Festival Fauve D’Or
Fall 2018 release in the following countries: USA (Scribner), UK (Particular Books), Germany (Penguin Hardcover), Holland (Balans), France (Gallimard). 2019 and 2020 release in the following countries: Ukraine (Vydavnytstvo), Norway (Spartacus), Sweden (Norstedts), Spain (Salamandra), Brazil (Companhia das Letras), Italy (Stile Libero), and Denmark (Gads), Korea (Bookhouse Publishers Co.).
See excerpts of the book and work-in-progress video below.
(See excerpts of the book and work-in-progress video below.)
“A mazy and ingenious reckoning with the past. … The notion of ‘consolation’ is one I suspect Krug would regard with suspicion. What she seems in pursuit of is a better quality of guilt. … That’s where honor seems to lie, this book suggests: in the restless work of remembering, in the looking again, the recalibration and the revision. In getting the whole picture, and getting it right.”
—The New York Times, Parul Sehgal
“In her extraordinary graphic memoir Heimat, Krug dissects antisemitism in her own family’s history an dGermany’s national guilt over the Holocaust–and the country’s recent far-right backlash. … The curious appeal of Krug’s graphic memoir is that it never fully loses itself in the act of storytelling but constantly stops to turn over and reassess the means at its disposal.”
—The Guardian, Philip Oltermann
“Nora Krug has created a beautiful visual memoir of a horrific time in history. A time that torments us to this day. Asking questions and searching for the truth, she will not turn away from the legacy of her family and her country. She asks the question of how any of us survive our family history. Ultimately, the only course is not to veil the answers.”
—Maira Kalman, author of Cake and Ooh-la-la Max in Love
Belonging is an astoundingly honest book that conducts a devastating–and irresistible–investigation into one’s family struggle with the forces of history. I could not stop reading it and when I as done, I could not stop thinking about it. By going so deeply into her family’s history, Krug has in some ways written about us all.”
—Sebastian Junger, author of Tribe and War
“A page-turning scrapbook/collage of memory, meaning and accountability, Ms. Krug draws the reader through her family history with the directness of imagery, handwriting, and, ultimately, a disquieting direness that has echoes in our American life, right now. Belonging is valuable, readable and, needless to say, highly recommended.”
—Chris Ware, author of Building Stories
“To belong to a place is not to be able to choose what it takes from you. But we can choose what we take from it. Nora Krug takes from her German homeland, and then gives to us, a sense of what it is like to be German today, and a guide to how a reckoning with the past can begin.”
—Timothy Snyder, author of Bloodlands and Black Earth
—The Observer, Rachel Cooke
“Pick up Nora Krug’s reverberant graphic memoir, Belonging, and be prepared to lose yourslef for hours in this unstinting investigation into her conflicted feelings about being German and her family’s role in the Holocaust. … Belonging is both emotionally and graphically complex. … it’s endlessly absorbing.”
—NPR, Heller McAlpin
“… a highly original and powerful graphic novel that works on many levels. … a book that is as informative as a history and as touching as a novel.”
—Financial Times, Frederick Studemann
“Provocative…as lush as it is meticulous…this work of stunning craftsmanship stands as a testament to speaking out as a necessary first step to healing.”
“Nora Krug’s book Belonging is a heart-wrenching, suspenseful and fascinating odyssey that straddles, and seeks to uncover, an uncharted, inaccessible, unfathomable past. It is a kaleidoscope of interrupted lives, leading inexorably to its ultimate conclusion. I couldn’t stop reading it.”
—Hava Beller, director of The Restless Conscience
“As a Jewish heir of grandparents who themselves had to flee the upsurge of fascism in their German homelands, I found granddaughter Nora Krug’s heartrending investigation of her own family’s painstakingly occluded history through those years especially moving. But as an American living through these, our very own years of a seemingly inexorable drift into one’s still not quite sure what, I found Krug’s achingly realized graphic memoir downright unsettling, for what will our own grandchildren one day make of us and our own everyday compromises and failure sot attend?”
—Lawrence Weschler, author of, among others, Calamaties of Exile and A Miracle, A Universe: Settling Accounts with Torturers
“Heimat is compelling and beautifully crafted graphic memoir. Holding this book, and leafing through its pages, rich with photographs, handwritten letters and exquisite drawings, you feel as if the past is reaching out and grabbing you. It is an exploration of legacy and memory, the thins we inherit, the stories we pass on and the strange power the past can hold over us. I loved it.”
—Isabel Greenberg, author of The Encyclopedia of Early Earth
“…radical… Heimat A German Familienalbum is a dedication, not a reckoning, but one that doesn’t avoid horror in the slightest. … accessible and complex at the same time.”
—Berliner Zeitung, Sabine Rohlf
“And thus her graphic memoir is more of a graphic statement, a snapshot not only of her own family history, but also of the reality of possibilities for any type of storytelling about cultural heritage.”
—Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Andreas Platthaus
“One of the most peculiar books I’ve ever held in my hands. … an intelligent, visually wonderfully opulent picture book for adults. … Heimat by Nora Krug represents a form of self-ascertainment, of finding one’s position, and a moral compass. Nora Krug’s autobiographical search for traces is differentiated, intelligent and sublime, both in its images and in its words, and she thus creates the possibility of the book itself becoming a Heimat.”
—ARD Druckfrisch, Denis Scheck
“A great piece of art with a great narrative power.”
—SWR2 Lesenswert Quartett, Anne-Dore Krohn
“A masterpiece of a narrative–as touching as a novel, as deep as a non-fiction book.”
“In this remarkably executed graphic narrative which combines drawing, archival photography, typography and different kinds of artwork, she tells of a spiritual and existential quest that doesn’t allow for a simple division into good and evil. Equally dense and intensive, historical and personal, and with a feminine point of view, Heimat was received very well in the United States. Well-deserved!”
—Glamour, Sophie Rosemont
(See excerpts of the book and work-in-progress video below.)
April 17, 2019:
Skirball Center, Los Angeles/USA
in conversation with Louise Steinman
May 4-5, 2019
Bay Area Book Festival, San Francisco/USA
May 9, 2019: 7:00 p.m.
Alliance Française, Toronto/Canada
May 10, 2019: 2:00 p.m.
Miles Nadal Jewish Community Center, Toronto/Canada
May 11, 2019: 10:00 a.m.
Toronto Comic Art Festival, Toronto Public Library, Hinton Learning Theatre, Toronto/Canada
May 12, 2019: 11:00 a.m.
Toronto Comic Art Festival, High Park Ballroom, Toronto/Canada
June 26, 2019: 7:00 p.m.
Literarische Gesellschaft, Karlsruhe/Germany
June 27, 2019: 7:00 p.m.
Literaturhaus Stuttgart, Stuttgart/Germany
in conversation with Professor Anat Feinberg
October 3, 2018: 7:30 p.m.
Greenlight Book Store, Brooklyn/USA
October 4, 2018: 6:30 p.m.
Society of Illustrators, New York/USA
October 9, 2018: 8 p.m.
Literaturhaus München, Munich/Germany:
in conversation with Doris Dörrie
October 10-13, 2018
Frankfurt Book Fair, Frankfurt/Germany
October 12, 2018: 2 pm
Frankfurt Book Fair, Frankfurt/Germany:
October 13, 2018: 7 p.m.
Liebermann Villa, Berlin/Germany
October 14, 2018: 5 p.m.
German-American Institute, Heidelberg/Germany
October 16, 2018: 3 p.m.
Gosh! Comics, London/UK
October 16, 2018: 4 p.m.
Foyles Bookshop, London/UK
October 16, 2018: 7:15 p.m.
The British Library, London/UK
October 22, 2018: 8 p.m.
Goethe Institut, Amsterdam/Holland
Politics & Prose/Union Market, Washington DC/USA
November 14, 2018: 7 p.m.
November 19, 2018: 7:00 p.m.
Museum of Jewish Heritage, New York/USA
December 14, 2018: 12:00 p.m.
The New School, New York/USA
January 15, 2019: 7:00 p.m
House of Speakeasy at Joe’s Pub, New York/USA
January 17, 2019: 6:00 p.m.
January 24-27, 2019
International Comics Festival Angoulême, France
February 8, 2019: 6:00 p.m.
February 21, 2019: 7:00 p.m.
Jewish Museum, in conversation with Ayelet Tsabari, New York/USA
March 12, 2019: 7:00 p.m.
Literaturhaus Hamburg, Hamburg/Germany:
in conversation with Andreas Platthaus (author present via Skype)
March 13, 2019: 6:30 p.m.
(See excerpts of the book and work-in-progress video below.)
August 1, 2018: New Yorker Blog
August 15, 2018: Die Zeit Magazin
August 16, 2018: WDR Radio
August 17, 2018: Frankfurter Allgemeine
August 27, 2018: Deutschlandfunk
August 27, 2018: Arte
August 30, 2018: Der Tagesspiegel
September 2, 2018: ARD
September 15, 2018: The Guardian
September 21, 2018: Bayerischer Rundfunk
September 21, 2018: Publishers Weekly
September 24, 2018: SWR2 Lesenswert Quartett
September 27, 2018: Berliner Zeitung
September 30, 2018: The Guardian
October 3, 2018: The Guardian
October 3, 2018: The New York Times
4. Oktober 2018: VQR
October 6, 2018: NPR
October 6, 2018: The Telegraph
October 7, 2018: ARD
October 9, 2018: Bayern Radio
October 12, 2018: Financial Times
October 12, 2018: ARD
October 17, 2018: BBC Two – Newsnight
October 21, 2018: The Monocole Weekly
October 30, 2018: NRC
November 2, 2018: BBC World Service
November 4, 2018: VPRO
8. November 2018: Stuttgarter Zeitung
November 11, 2018: Radio Eins
November 13, 2018: The Spectator
November 17, 2018: The Times
November 19, 2018: Eye Magazine
November 19, 2018: Time
November 29, 2018: Volkskrant
November 29, 2018: Le Figaro
December 1, 2018: Time Magazine
December 4, 2018: The Guardian
December 4, 2018: New York Times
March 7, 2019: Writer’s Voice
March 10, 2019: CBC