“Then came the years of spying and paranoia.”
There’s a sharp edge to the storytelling, but the combination with a soft, almost cute, presentation in the art style makes Poppies of Iraq important among graphic non-fiction of recent years.
Resembling a children’s book thanks to Lewis Trondheim’s charming style, it continues the tradition of works such as Persepolis by using the medium to tell a difficult story openly. Brigitte Findakly describes, matter-of-factly, what it was like to grow up in Iraq during the rise of Saddam Hussein, and to drift apart from her homeland after an escape to France.
Like the best of this genre, Poppies of Iraq is compelling due to its mix of the significant and banal, showing how people can become used to anything, except when they can’t. It’s one of those books you read in one sitting then return to, a lot, and read it all again.