I Live Here
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I Live Here

5.0 2
by J.B. Mackinnon, Michael Simons, Paul Shoebridges, Mia Kirshner

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I Live Here is a paper documentary–an intimate journey to humanitarian crises in four corners of the world: war in Chechnya, ethnic cleansing in Burma, globalization in Mexico, and AIDS in Malawi.


I Live Here is a visually stunning narrative — told through journals, stories, images, and graphic

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I Live Here is a paper documentary–an intimate journey to humanitarian crises in four corners of the world: war in Chechnya, ethnic cleansing in Burma, globalization in Mexico, and AIDS in Malawi.


I Live Here is a visually stunning narrative — told through journals, stories, images, and graphic novellas — in which the lives of refugees and displaced people become at once personal and global. Bearing witness to stories that are too often overlooked, it is a raw and intimate journey to crises in four corners of the world: war in Chechnya, ethnic cleansing in Burma, globalization in Mexico, and AIDS in Malawi.

The voices we encounter are those of displaced women and children, in their own words or in stories told in text and images by noted writers and artists. The stories unfold in an avalanche: An orphan goes to jail for stealing leftovers. A teenage girl falls in love in a city of disappeared women. A child soldier escapes his army only to be saved by the people he was taught to kill.

Mia Kirshner’s journals guide us through a unique paper documentary brought vividly to life in collaboration with J.B. MacKinnon, Paul Shoebridge, and Michael Simons, with featured works by Joe Sacco, Ann-Marie MacDonald, Phoebe Gloeckner, Chris Abani, Karen Connelly, Kamel Khelif, and many others.


The border of the Russian republic of Ingushetia is not even fifty miles from Grozny, the capital city of Chechnya. Today, some 15,000 Chechen refugees live in Ingushetia. Mia Kirshner and Joe Sacco traveled here together, returning with first-person accounts, video, photographs, and other materials gathered in Nazran and Moscow. The chapter includes journals by Mia Kirshner, the story of a young refugee as told by J.B. MacKinnon, the story of a young piano virtuoso as told by Ann-Marie Macdonald, and a graphic novella of Chechen refugees by Joe Sacco.

Ethnic cleansing by the Burmese military has displaced an estimated 500,000 to 1 million people; over 100,000 live in refugee camps along the Thailand-Burma border. Burma is also believed to be home to more child soldiers than any other country in the world. Mia Kirshner and Michael Simons took separate trips to the region; this chapter is based on their interviews, photos, and video, as well as writing by sex workers and Karen refugees. It includes journals by Mia Kirshner, as well as work by Chris Abani, Karen Connelly, J.B. Mackinnon, and a graphic novella by Kamel Khélif.

Ciudad Juárez is a large industrial border city in Mexico across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas. Since 1993, young women, many of them employees of Juárez’s more than three hundred maquiladoras, or global trade zone factories, have been disappearing from the streets. Mia Kirshner and Phoebe Gloeckner made independent journeys to this region; this book is informed by the stories and images they brought home. It includes journals, a story of one of the victims by Lauren Kirshner, and a graphic novella by Phoebe Gloeckner.

Malawi is one of the world’s poorest countries, and has an AIDS rate close to twenty percent. The disease touches every aspect of daily life in the African nation, introducing immense chaos, particularly in the case of orphan children. Mia Kirshner and J.B. MacKinnon made the trip to Malawi and returned with interviews, photographs, writing, and artworks. This book includes journals, a children’s story by J.B. MacKinnon with art by Julie Morstad, and the stories and artwork of boys in a local prison.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Powerful. . . . A touching, gorgeously produced, and thoughtfully edited compilation of stories from the world’s trouble spots. . . . Combines reportage, photography, fiction, and comics to create a group portrait of the lives of refugees and displaced people worldwide.” –New York Magazine

“Gut-wrenching–and hauntingly beautiful.” –Glamour

“Elaborately designed in its look, knottily layered in its content and far afield from the entertainment world in its subject matter . . . I Live Here is no vanity project.” –Los Angeles Times

“Compelling.” –Elle

“Gives a voice to the voiceless, vividly and beautifully illustrating the lives of marginalized women and children.” –Tribeca Film

“A potent and provocative graphic delivery system for unspeakable real-world horrors. . . . Each section elegantly manages to balance the personal and political aspects of its respective crisis.” –The Village Voice

“Intense. . . . Disturbing. . . . Effective. . . . With I Live Here, Kirshner shines an unwavering, informative light on important and troubling non-U.S.-centric issues in a truthful and often disturbing manner. She elevates celebrity philanthropic efforts to an extraordinary new level of sophistication in content and style. . . . One of the finest looking publications ever produced. In toto, the package forms an amazing work of art. An exceptional book of rare quality, I Live Here exceeds all expectations.” –The San Antonio Current

“Kirshner has taken a more deliberate, less paparazzi-infested approach to global suffering in I Live Here.” –Seattle Weekly

“Stunning, heartbreaking, riveting. True.” –January Magazine

“A harrowing, moving and memorable book. . . . Using first-person accounts, original art and prose, [I Live Here] is uniquely evocative in its presentation of the life-and-death struggles of marginalized people.” –Toronto Star

“Intimate. . . . Moving.” –mtvU

“Beautiful. . . . Heartbreaking. . . . Extremely personal and intimate. . . . The stories, woven throughout the beautiful illustrations and the sometimes-disturbing photos, are a wake-up call to the atrocities that are occurring daily.” –Curve Magazine   

“A remarkable assemblage of refugee stories. . . . [This] composite of four notebooks designed to be taught, read, spoken of and remembered, not only chronicles the lives she encountered, but it gives them each a voice. . . . Mia’s not in any way preachy, she’s just determined to do whatever it takes to make this world a better place to live in for those whose lives are lived in the margins.” –The SunPost (Miami)

“A harrowing tribute to the overlooked victims of war. . . . Innovative, moving.” –The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

“A vibrant, passionate look at lives affected by poverty, violence, and political repression. . . . [A] brave attempt to break beyond standard documentary approaches.” –Planet Magazine

“Creatively compiled. . . . Beautifully constructed. . . . We can’t all make the remarkable journeys Kirshner has, but with this book, she serves as our unexpected ambassador.” –Modern Tonic

I Live Here brings to life those who blend into the crowds we see on the news every day. . . . [It] makes a strong attempt to bring to life the world’s oppressed in a way the news media cannot.” –The Georgia Straight (Vancouver)

I Live Here is not just another Hollywood starlet story.” –The Kansas City Star

“Kirshner–with the help of Mackinnon, Shoebridge, and Simons–does an exceptional job putting a human face to devastating problems to which people of developed nations have become desensitized. I Live Here is both heartwrenching and beautiful, inspiring readers (without ever preaching) to reach out to those in need.”–BookLoons.com

Publishers Weekly

This "paper documentary," as they bill it, tells hot-button stories from four world crisis areas: Chechnya (in the midst of war), Burma (ethnic cleansing), Mexico (globalization) and Malawi (AIDS). Those credited are identified as an actor, an author and two "creative directors who have conceptualized international advocacy campaigns," as well as a number of other artists and writers. Each 84-page book (collected in a foldout case) is formatted as a collage-illustrated multimedia journal with stories of various refugees. Two contain short graphic novels. Joe Sacco (Palestine) tackles Chechnya in his straightforward lack of style. Burma is the fumetti-inspired story of a young sex worker, featuring heavily photo-referenced art by Kamel Khelif. The Mexican entry tells the story of one of the many young female factory workers gone missing and found dead in Juarez. Malawi has the feel of an African folktale. An ambitious project of this scope, with all the attendant marketing, may strike the jaded as another guilt-assuaging, résumé-building charity effort. However, the vibrant, collage-like approach to the subject matter gives the material immediacy, even if those most likely to read it are already persuaded something should be done about these perils. (Oct.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Reviews
A visually stunning presentation of the lives of women and children surviving under the worst circumstances in Burma, Mexico, Russia and Malawi. The project is a joint production of actress/reporter Kirshner, writer MacKinnon (Dead Man in Paradise: Unraveling a Murder from a Time of Evolution, 2007, etc.) and Shoebridge and Simons, creative directors at Adbusters. (The book also contains work from Chris Abani, Phoebe Gloeckner, Joe Sacco and others.) The authors open with the anonymous stories of refugees along the Thailand-Burma border, featuring sex workers in Burmese brothels where the HIV/AIDS rate is 25 percent, and children forced into service in the Burmese army. The horrific stories of rape, abortion and violence they tell are accompanied by equally disturbing artwork that combines paintings, drawings, text and photographs. In Russia, the setting is the Republic of Ingushetia, home to refugee camps filled with displaced persons from neighboring Chechnya. Included here is a stark six-part graphic novel, "Chechen War, Chechen Women," depicting the grim lives of women during and after the war. The Mexican section looks at the lives of missing and murdered girls in Ciudad Juarez and features a still-missing teenager, Ericka, whose story is illustrated with Polaroid snapshots of empty rooms annotated by her mother, and Claudia, a murdered 20-year-old whose short life is illustrated with sketches, documents, posters, needlework pictures and collages. In Malawi, where HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis are decimating the villages, a simple, poignant story of birth, life and death from "the wasting disease" is accompanied by delicate, lovely illustrations. The inmates of Kachere Prison,mostly poor orphan boys awaiting trial, narrate their stories of murder and minor theft, with the text superimposed over bleak, harsh, poster-like blocks of type. Kirshner, who visited the brothels, refugee camps and prisons in each of these countries to interview the subjects, links the pieces, provides the background necessary to understand each situation and offers her thoughts and impressions. The contributions of her collaborators are not individually identified, but the visuals lift this work above the ordinary. Somewhat uneven writing amid a myriad of powerful images.

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Product Details

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
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Product dimensions:
7.90(w) x 9.60(h) x 1.65(d)

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I Live Here 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
CatherinCubillan More than 1 year ago
"I Live Here" has been an amazing book. I think is very inspiriting, and touching. The authors of this book did an amazing job, making it so realistic. The way that this book was made was for the readers to feel and understand the point that they are trying to make. I recommend this book to all the readers that are interested in knowing what is really going on in the world, situations that the media has no interested in showing. I think everybody should read this book, it would definitely help change the world and the way people think. Thank You. Catherin C.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago