In the four short stories contained in A Contract With God, Eisner examines life in the 1930’s Bronx tenements that sprung up in New York after WWI. These neighborhoods accommodated the influx of immigrants and bred a close neighborliness ripe for mining stories. Eisner does this brilliantly.
In the title story, a young Russian Jew has come to American to escape the pograms that were sweeping through his country. When tragedy strikes, he becomes bitter, rejects the contract he had made with God, and quickly accumulates vast material wealth. Predictably, he realizes that money can’t buy the one thing he wants most in the world.
The other stories are every bit as profound and succinctly portray the emotions of these remarkable, yet ordinary people.
If A Contract With God interests you at all, please do not be alarmed when you learn it is a graphic novel. In its 6th printing, A Contract With God, is every bit the classic novel that To Kill a Mockingbird or Huck Finn are. Eisner is credited with the invention of graphic novels as a genre and A Contract With God is undeniable worthy of high praise. If you read only one graphic novel during your lifetime, I strongly suggest you make it this. It’s well worth keeping your mind open for.