Riveting...pure torture to read. And given the context, that assessment is offered as high compliment indeed.Michael Cavna, Washington Post
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 colour 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.
Hostage has been translated from the French by Helge Dascher. Dascher has been translating graphic novels from French and German to English for over twenty years. A contributor to Drawn & Quarterly since the early days, her translations include acclaimed titles such as the Aya series by Marguerite Abouet and Clément Oubrerie, Pyongyang by Guy Delisle, and Beautiful Darkness by Fabien Vehlmann and Kerascoët. With a background in art history and history, she also translates books and exhibitions for museums in North America and Europe. She lives in Montreal.
Praise for Hostage
Readers will find themselves held hostage to the end by Delisle’s immersive interpretation of one supposedly ordinary man’s extraordinary resilience.Paul Gravett, Times Literary Supplement
The location captured [in Hostage] is less Andre's grim little room than his mind... Delisle transmute[s] tedium into compelling suspense.The New York Times
Delisle dwells expansively on what keeps us human, even in the most straitened of circumstances. This claustrophobic portrayal of a man confined to a room for months on end is also, paradoxically, a riveting action comic.The Globe and Mail
A modern master of the travelogue... [returns] with a surge of blood-pumping adrenaline.The Fader
Hostage shows what it's like to be held captive ... Delisle brings readers into the room with the hostage and, more importantly, into his state of mind.The Atlantic
A book about a man trapped in the corner of a room should not be exhilarating, but somehow Delisle has managed to create just that. He takes us through Christophe André’s narrative of his time spent as a prisoner with an attention to detail that makes you feel like you’re right there with him, chained to a radiator, counting the days to keep yourself from losing your mind. My heart was racing by the end.Sarah Glidden, author of Rolling Blackouts: Dispatches in Turkey, Syria, and Iraq
The gutters of a comic have never felt more like those prison bars than they do in Hostage. Still, Delisle’s humane approach keeps this from become a trip to the zoo; he makes you not just see, but feel André’s anguish.Salon
A brilliant testimony to the possibilities of the graphic form [as well as] a monument to the bewildering ways in which power and politics reverberate through ordinary lives, and the quiet tenacity of those who endure the tremors.Laura Thorne, The Rumpus
A formidable undertaking and achievement, both visually and textually... Delisle's minimal linework and tightly boxed-in panels add to the overwhelming sense of physical and psychological confinement.Quill & Quire Starred Review
[Hostage is] an indelible portrait of an ordinary person facing a frightening ordeal.Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
The account of André's experience... would be powerful enough, if depicted in prose alone. But Hostage is a comic, and it's Delisle's art — his character design, his use of page and panel layout to underscore the mind-numbing sameness of solitary confinement while controlling the story's mood and pacing — that makes us feel André's plight so deeply.NPR
Delisle’s new book, Hostage, is his best since Pyongyang... In its beat-by-beat, day-by-day scope, is ultimately a travelogue about the power of imagination.New York Review of Books
Hostage... [builds] tension and dread out of the barest of settings: a man chained to a radiator for weeks on end with almost no contact with the outside world. An intense, gripping story.National Post
[Hostage] manages to expand Delisle’s artistic repertoire, turning what was once a brilliant talent for wry observation into something more unsettling and profound.Literary Review of Canada
Guy Delisle conveys great, slow-burning tension in this sublime account of what Christophe Andre endured as a hostage in Chechnya. Delisle’s controlled handling of claustrophobic physical and mental spaces – and the rhythm he generates – is the work of a patient master.Joe Sacco
Hostage explores the psychological effects of solitary confinement, the repercussions of negotiating with kidnappers and the nature of freedom.The Guardian, The 20 comics to watch out for in 2017
This true story of a man’s kidnapping in Chechnya confirms Guy Delisle’s position as one of the greatest modern cartoonists.The Guardian
In muted grays, André’s capture is depicted as both terrifying and monotonous at once. The terror of loneliness is present in every frame—the cells, tightly centered on André, claustrophobia-inducing in their own right.GQ
Harrowing and beautiful... I've felt haunted by the book since I finished it.Chicago Tribune
Riveting... Delisle's rendering is masterfully simple... His drawings of Andre, shackled by the wrist, staring out into a strange room, evoke the terror and tedium of captivity.Dan Wasserman, Boston Globe