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Jerusalem: Chronicles from the Holy City Hardcover – April 24, 2012

60 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

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“Delisle, a former animator, has a knack for visual shorthand ... and for drawing environments: religious shrines and settlements, but also grocery stores, playgrounds and checkpoints -- lots of checkpoints. 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.” ―Douglas Wolk, The New York Times

“[Jerusalem] is a small miracle: concise, even-handed, highly particular.” ―Rachel Cooke, The Guardian

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

“Neither Jewish nor Arab, Delisle explores Jerusalem and is able to observe this strange world with candidness and humor...But most of all, those stories convey what life in East Jerusalem is about for an expatriate.” ―Haaretz

“Engaging...[ Delisle] highlights the very complex lives of Israelis, Palestinians, and foreign residents.” ―Publishers Weekly Starred Review


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Drawn and Quarterly (April 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1770460713
  • ISBN-13: 978-1770460713
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.4 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #296,878 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Melissa Vivari on April 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Delisle provides an illustration of the conflict between Israel and Palestine that is very accessible to the average person. While I read various newspapers and consider myself to be aware of current events in Israel, I never fully understood the role of the settlers, Arabs, Israelis, ultra-orthodox Jews, etc. as well as I now do after reading Delisle's Jerusalem.

While this is certainly partially a travelogue, Delisle does a wonderful job with the rhythm of telling his story of his time there. This does not read as just a reporting of what happened, but has a beginning, middle and end. The art is simple and beautiful, conveying a sense of feeling of place.

Delisle's style in storytelling through words and images offers a light touch to very heavy subjects. As I read the work, I felt that he was as unbiased of a person that you're going to come across on these issues. He is delicate, but not afraid to present details about what he observes. I also appreciated his humor regarding the challenges of his time there, such as finding playgrounds for his young children and other ways of entertaining them.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Andrew C Wheeler VINE VOICE on September 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Everyone has their niche, their two inches of ivory that they work over so closely with a fine-haired brush. Some niches are larger than others -- project manager, superhero artist, war apologist, social novelist -- but they all bind, more or less, around the edges. Some artists fight against that niche, and some embrace it.

Guy Delisle is a cartoonist -- originally Canadian, though resident in France for some time -- whose niche is creating books about the strange foreign cities he finds himself living and working in. First was Shenzhen, about time spent working as an animation supervisor in that Chinese city. Then came Pyongyang, in which the same job took him to that very odd, constricted North Korean capital. And then there was Burma Chronicles, by which point Delisle had transitioned to a full-time long-form cartoonist, and was accompanying his partner (a Médecins Sans Frontières administrator) to the capital of the country that wants the rest of us to call it Myanmar. (Somewhere in between, he also published two books of unsettling, mostly sex-role related cartoons -- Aline and the Others and Albert and the Others.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Moore LMT Educator on November 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I have been reading many books about the Arab/Israeli conflicts including by Tom Segev and Jimmy Carter. Each book and author does tend to have his slant. One option is to buy Side by Side: Parallel Histories of Israel-Palestine, which gives parallel accounts from the Arab and the Israeli perspectives, on facing pages. I don't mind reading books tht have a slant. In fact I often seek books that have the opposite slant as myself, so that I can understand more clearly views that oppose my own.

Mira said in the 2-star review, that this book Jerusalem by Guy Delisle was so slanted, that she grew to distrust the author. I disagree with Miras statement, because even though I see the slant, I feel Delisle is a trustworthy author. But even if he was so slanted as to be not trustworthy, readers would still gain much from reading his book because they would see many examples of settlers and the wall and Jews workig around Sabbath Law like elevators that stop on every floor so they don't have to push any buttons on a Saturday. Seeing these slanted perspectives then puts the burden onto those writers who could explain or defend the meaning and purpose of these examples. I would ask Mira then, fine, and please provide us with other books that would explain for us the meaning and purpose of the settlements, the wall, the elevator programming, and so forth. I voted Mira's review as yes, helpful, because I believe we gain from seeing the range of reactions and hearing different perspectives.

I want to have empathy for all people, and Jesrusalem definitely gave me empathy for displaced and oppressed Palestinians.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sam Quixote TOP 1000 REVIEWER on May 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Guy Delisle travels to Jerusalem with his partner and their two kids for a year. His partner is an administrator for "Doctors Without Borders" and Delisle spends the year working on his comics, looking after the kids, and exploring/trying to understand the city of Jerusalem and its peoples.

If you've read Delisle's work before you'll know he goes to hard-to-reach places and reports on his time there (North Korea, China, Burma) and that the resulting travelogues are always entertaining and enlightening - just like this latest book.

The book isn't a polemic nor is it meant to explain the region or the history, it's really just a memoir/travelogue of his time there. So there is equal parts of his time describing his everyday duties looking after the kids and going to parties, making friends, as much as there is encountering and observing violence from bombings in Gaza, to the numerous checkpoints and outright chaos of this area.

The reader gets to see how bizarre Jerusalem is. The city is divided into Christian quarters, Jewish quarters, and Muslim quarters, where literally one side of the street a woman can wear what she likes and on the other she must be covered head to foot. The constant military presence and day to day reminders of violence - everyone carries a gun, not just soldiers. The shrillness of the piercing calls to prayer echo throughout the city whether you are religious or not. The ridiculously high number of checkpoints everywhere, the constant traffic jams...

As an atheist myself, it's hard to believe that this troubled region is because of one group believing one thing over another leading to literally millennia of conflict. As such, it's incredibly shocking how people will be so petty over everything.
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