Hostage by Guy Delisle

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All this darkness and claustrophobia shouldn’t be exhilarating. The fact Delisle makes it so is yet another reason why he must be counted as one of the greatest cartoonists of our age.
-Guardian

Synopsis

How does one survive when all hope is lost?

In the middle of the night in 1997, Doctors Without Borders administrator Christophe André was kidnapped by armed men and taken away to an unknown destination in the Caucasus region. For three months, André was kept handcuffed in solitary confinement, with little to survive on and almost no contact with the outside world. Close to twenty years later, award-winning cartoonist Guy Delisle (Pyongyang, Jerusalem, Shenzhen, Burma Chronicles) recounts André’s harrowing experience in Hostage, a book that attests to the power of one man’s determination in the face of a hopeless situation.

Marking a departure from the author’s celebrated first-person travelogues, Delisle tells the story through the perspective of the titular captive, who strives to keep his mind alert as desperation starts to set in. Working in a pared down style with muted color washes, Delisle conveys the psychological effects of solitary confinement, compelling us to ask ourselves some difficult questions regarding the repercussions of negotiating with kidnappers and what it really means to be free. Thoughtful, intense, and moving, Hostage takes a profound look at what drives our will to survive in the darkest of moments.

 

About Guy Delisle

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Guy Delisle was born in Quebec City, Canada. His bestselling and acclaimed travelogues (Pyongyang, Jerusalem: Chronicles from the Holy City, Burma Chronicles, and Shenzhen) are defining works of graphic nonfiction, and in 2012, Delisle was awarded the top prize in European cartooning when the French edition of Jerusalem was named Best Album at the Angoulême International Comics Festival. He lives in France with his wife and children.
 
Published April 25, 2017 by Drawn and Quarterly. 436 pages
Genres: Comics & Graphic Novels, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Hostage
All: 3 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 0

NPR

Good
Reviewed by Glen Weldon on Apr 25 2017

It's a testament to Delisle's gifts that we remain so deeply invested in André's situation, seeing and feeling only what he does, that this knowledge never registers; we keep turning pages fearfully, hungrily, plowing on along with him, vibrating in the tension between word and image, terror and hope.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Rachel Cooke on Apr 25 2017

All this darkness and claustrophobia shouldn’t be exhilarating. The fact Delisle makes it so is yet another reason why he must be counted as one of the greatest cartoonists of our age.

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Toronto Star

Above average
Reviewed by Sue Carter on May 12 2017

As André’s captivity stretches out over months, Delisle ratchets up the tension with repetitive linework, a gloomy grey palette and tightly boxed-in panels, which just adds to the overwhelming sense of confinement.

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