Chicago Tribune is "haunted" by Hostage

“ The Biblioracle: Graphic books and learning to read again ” / Chicago Tribune / John Warner / April 25, 2017


These are not books to be flipped through, but are best sipped or tasted deliberately, akin to the "slow food" movement, which seeks to reconnect us to the experience of eating that goes beyond mere consumption.

I put this into practice when reading another astounding new graphic book, "Hostage" by Guy Delisle. "Hostage" is the true story of Christophe Andre, an administrator for Doctors Without Borders who was kidnapped and held hostage in Chechnya in 1997.

Andre's testimony, which is the text of the book, would be powerful all by itself, but as enhanced by Delisle's art, using a color palette out of Picasso's Blue Period, we are immersed in the experience of being held alone in a room, chained to a radiator. The internal experience of Andre's terror/boredom is conveyed by text that often crowds the panels, obscuring the images as Andre drowns in his own worries. It is harrowing and beautiful.

I've felt haunted by the book since I finished it. I'm looking forward to experiencing it again.

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