SHENZHEN reviewed in the Toronto Star

“Guy Delisle's Shenzhen: A Travelogue from China is a delight. ” / The Toronto Star / Michael Hanlon / December 17, 2006

Delisle has written four graphic novels in French and Shenzhen is the second to be translated into English (the first was a similar take on an extended business stay in North Korea by the author, the eerily effective Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea (also Drawn & Quarterly).

The city of Shenzhen is a teeming metropolis slightly north of Hong Kong, and Delisle spent three months there working for a French animation company. He kept notes and sketches about his colleagues, his loneliness, observations about politics, customs, food and drink (one liquid concoction includes a snake's bladder), the giant construction sites and the electric fence to the north of the city, guarded by soldiers in watchtowers.

Some days he didn't utter a word and he spent evenings reading, working out in the local Gold's Gym or wandering through luxurious supermarkets, a new phenomenon in Shenzhen.

Though he worries in one panel whether the anecdotes might one day "look like I had a great time here," the final work brims with affection and a droll humour. It would be a pleasure to find him creating one set in his native Quebec.


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