Book - 2016 | English edition
Average Rating:
Rate this:
In the mid-1930s, Irmina, an ambitious young German, moves to London. At a cocktail party, she meets Howard Green, one of the first black students at Oxford, who, like Irmina, is working towards an independent existence. However, their relationship comes to an abrupt end when Irmina, constrained by the political situation in Hitler's Germany, is forced to return home. As war approaches and her contact with Howard is broken, it becomes clear to Irmina that prosperity will only be possible through the betrayal of her ideals. In the award-winning Irmina, Barbara Yelin presents a troubling drama about the tension between integrity and social advancement, reflecting with compassion and intelligence on the complicity that results from the choice, conscious or otherwise, to look away.
Publisher: London : SelfMadeHero, 2016
Edition: English edition
Copyright Date: ©2014
ISBN: 9781910593103
Branch Call Number: 741.5943 YEL
Characteristics: 285 pages : chiefly color illustrations ; 27 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
ArapahoeStaff12 Jul 07, 2017

A heartbreaking account of a young German woman's struggles to try and stay in England and eventually having to deal with the rise of Nazism when she has to inevitably return to Germany. This true story shows what it was like to just be an everyday German caught up in the horrific surroundings.

ArapahoeLesley Jun 07, 2017

A beautifully and thoughtfully presented graphic novel inspired by the author's own grandmother. This story shows the journey of an ambitious and hopeful young woman into a life dictated by the Third Reich to an old woman confronted with the thoughts of the world. Lovely and shocking and sad.

forbesrachel Feb 12, 2017

Yelin's Irmina is a sobering story inspired by the life of real individuals, and runs as thus. In the 1930's, the young German woman Irmina makes her way to England to find her independence. There she meets Howard, a studious, kindly gentleman. Both are outcasts in society's eyes, her for being a working woman and German, and him for being black and for studying at a prestigious university, and it is because of this shared status they form a bond. But when a series of unfortunate events beset Irmina, she is forced to return to her home, and she is never able to return to England because of war. Circumstances change, she changes, and she comes to accept her life, and to some degree the Nazi rhetoric. Pastels are the perfect medium for exploring this story, the history, and the themes of equality, independence, and support. Their dark sketchy quality establishes a strong sense of atmosphere, and their ability to create sharp contrast between the lighting and shadows gives an edge to character emotions. By ending the story with Irmina's and Howard's reunion, we really see the kind of life Irmina missed out on. However, it is unsurprising because that "what if" feeling permeates almost three quarters of the book. Irmina was an intelligent woman who fell in love with black man at a time where that was frowned upon, and to see her lose her spark, to see her fall to rhetoric, and to see her become cold and hard is heartbreaking. Howard, on the other hand, we can feel some degree of happiness for. He lived up to his potential, but even he seems to think about the "what if". Irmina is not a happy tale, it is a tale of life during hard times which asks us to think hard about the ordinary people who lived back then, and, why they might have accepted the horrible things that were happening around them. This is a timely reminder of why we must fight against intolerance.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at KCLS

To Top