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Jerusalem: Chronicles from the Holy City Hardcover – April 24, 2012
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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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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Succinct overview of the city and the people who live there.Published 6 days ago by Diane P. Miller
Beautiful graphic book and I enjoyed it though i was truly disappointed that it was written with a very slanted view of the situation in Israel. Read morePublished 5 months ago by aliza
Burma & Pyongyang were terrific. This was a horribly biased and intellectually lazy effort. Sorry I purchased this.Published 6 months ago by Texas Customer
Sometimes it’s not the daily horrors of death and violence that spreads like wildfire over social media that you want people to know. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Jennifer Morrow
Very well drawn and very insightful. I understand the situation in Israel a lot better now. Makes you think...Published 9 months ago by Km! Ra
Read everything by Guy Delisle. Because he is not an American, he has been able to go places and offer honest, unbiased observations of life around the world. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Jesse
This Frenchman can make a trip to a horrible or boring place funny while also very informing.
I've met some human rights activists from Israel - Jeff Halper of the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions, the journalist Haggai Matar, a bunch of guys from Yesh Gvul and... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Bruce Gould
Wonderful graphic memoir of Mr. Delisle's experiences in Jerusalem; I read my daughter-in-law's copy first and wanted one for my personal library; am very, very pleased. Read morePublished 18 months ago by J. L. Jones