Jerusalem: Chronicles from the Holy City

Overview

"[Jerusalem] is a small miracle: concise, even-handed, highly particular." --The Guardian



Jerusalem: Chronicles from the Holy City
is the acclaimed graphic memoirist Guy Delisle's strongest work yet, a thoughtful and moving travelogue about life in contemporary Jerusalem. Delisle expertly lays the groundwork for a cultural road map of the Holy City, utilizing the classic ...

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Overview

"[Jerusalem] is a small miracle: concise, even-handed, highly particular." --The Guardian



Jerusalem: Chronicles from the Holy City
is the acclaimed graphic memoirist Guy Delisle's strongest work yet, a thoughtful and moving travelogue about life in contemporary Jerusalem. Delisle expertly lays the groundwork for a cultural road map of the Holy City, utilizing the classic "stranger in a strange land" point of view that made his other books required reading for understanding what daily life is like in cities few are able to travel to. Jerusalem explores the complexities of a city that represents so much to so many. It eloquently examines the impact of conflict on the lives of people on both sides of the wall while drolly recounting the quotidian: checkpoints, traffic jams, and holidays.

When observing the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim populations that call Jerusalem home, Delisle's drawn line is both sensitive and fair, assuming nothing and drawing everything. A sixteen-page appendix to the paperback edition lets the reader behind the curtain, revealing intimate process sketches from Delisle's time in Jerusalem.

Jerusalem is a masterfully hewn travelogue; topping Best of 2012 lists from The Guardian, Paste, and the Montreal Gazette, it was the graphic novel of the year.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“The cultural and physical barriers among the Jewish, Muslim and Christian communities become the source of dark but gentle comedy: absurdity teetering on the edge of tragedy.” —The New York Times

“The tone of [Jerusalem] is by turns gently humorous and dumbfounded. His drawing style . . . suits his brisk, snapshot approach.” —Financial Times

The New York Times

The cultural and physical barriers among the Jewish, Muslim and Christian communities become the source of dark but gentle comedy: absurdity teetering on the edge of tragedy.
Financial Times

The tone of [Jerusalem] is by turns gently humorous and dumbfounded. His drawing style . . . suits his brisk, snapshot approach.
Douglas Wolk
Delisle, a former animator, has a knack for visual shorthand…and for drawing environments…The cultural and physical barriers among the Jewish, Muslim and Christian communities in and around Jerusalem, and the compromises and work-arounds the city's residents have been forced to devise, become the source of dark but gentle comedy: absurdity teetering on the edge of tragedy.
—The New York Times Book Review
Publishers Weekly
Delisle returns to his autobiographical travel format (Burma Chronicles; Pyongyang) with this engaging and troubling look at life in Jerusalem in 2008 and 2009 that won a gold medal for Best Graphic Albumat Angoulême. With his wife, who works for Doctors Without Borders (Medecins sans Frontières, MSF), and their two young children, Delisle sees Jerusalem and the Israeli/Palestinian conflict with the eyes of an outsider. His experiences are recorded in vignettes that touch on such topics as the wall that separates Palestinian and Israeli territories, the problems of airport security, and the very different tours visitors receive depending on the perspective of their guides. Like MSF, Delisle’s perspective tends heavily in favor of the Palestinians, particularly those killed in the bombings of Gaza during Operation Cast Lead, which took place during his year there. Delisle is not religious, and his lack of identification with any of the religions of Israel allows him to comment freely on all of them. With a more simplistic style than in Pyongyang, Delisle’s use of less shading and starker line work highlights the very complex lives of Israelis, Palestinians, and foreign residents. Dascher’s translation is fluid, and the colors by Delisle and Lucie Firoud are effective at setting off distinct scenes. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Delisle's (Burma Chronicles; Pyongyang) year in Jerusalem stemmed from wife Nadège's assignment with Doctors Without Borders. Yet Jerusalem, he learns, is all about borders. Its exclusively Israeli or Palestinian communities and many religious microcommunities crosscut the city, and the civic, military, and in-group rules about who goes where are constantly shifting. The result is daily disruption for everyone, with more dangerous disruptions from violence like the Gaza War (known in Israel as Operation Cast Lead) that punctuated Delisle's stay. Yet a façade of normalcy fronts this teetering society where finding a convenient café or children's playground becomes a personal triumph seemingly as newsworthy as the latest Israeli/Palestinian dust-up. Writing as an uninvolved outsider, Delisle finds himself nonetheless developing a sensibility to the city; at one point he wryly observes, "Thanks, God, for making me an atheist." The simple-seeming art is black/gray wash with moody color enhancements. VERDICT An odd combination of chummy and chilling, Delisle's Angoulême award-winning chronicle of family life in uneasy circumstances brings a new perspective to a distinguished roster of Levant-based graphic novels, e.g., by Joe Sacco, Rutu Modan, and Sarah Glidden. Recommended for adults interested in the geographical or religious issues involved and fine for most teens.—M.C.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781770461765
  • Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly
  • Publication date: 8/4/2015
  • Pages: 344
  • Sales rank: 776,477

Meet the Author

Guy Delisle is the award-winning author of the travelogues Burma Chronicles, Jerusalem, Pyongyang, and Shenzhen as well as the 2013 graphic novel A User's Guide to Neglectful Parenting. He spent ten years working in animation, which allowed him to learn about movement and drawing, and he is now focusing on his cartooning. In 2008-2009, he accompanied his wife, an administrator for Doctors Without Borders, on a yearlong posting in Jerusalem. He lives in the south of France with his family.

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