Sunday, December 23, 2012

Jerusalem: Chronicles from the Holy City

By Guy Delisle

Delisle has done this before (Burma, Pyongyang). He accompanies his Doctors Without Borders spouse to an area of conflict, and wanders around as a stranger-in-a-strange-land, an illustrator-guide to the history and politics of a region or culture. I think he’s brilliant. His little, strangely shaped humans elicit enough pathos that there is a journalistic near-impartiality to his comics. Even his straightforward, slightly squiggled linework is non-judgmental. He makes direct reflections about culture and conflict and their ramifications in tense settings.

In Jerusalem, Delisle pokes his nose into the lives of Muslims, Christians, and Jews living on both sides of the wall of this holiest of cities. What he finds is plainness beneath the violence: traffic jams, groceries, vacations that get held up at geographical checkpoints. It’s a complex city, and I appreciate the tour free of an authorial agenda to solve complex problems. This is a very good travelogue, and a subtle argument for magnifying the common moments of being human.

- Dan

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