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I Live Here (Pantheon Graphic Novels) Hardcover – October 14, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From 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.)
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“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.”–

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Product Details

  • Series: Pantheon Graphic Novels
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon; Pck edition (October 14, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375424784
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375424786
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 1.5 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #632,456 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Charles A. Crowley on November 5, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is really a series of four smaller books inside a unique packaging. Each book illuminates the lives, often horrendous, of people in Ingushetia, Ciudad Juarez, Burma, and Malawi. Each book has a slightly different approach to the subject matter, using Mia Kirshner's journals and interviews, graphic novel techniques and photographs from her collaborators. There is nothing lightweight in here. If Mia Kirshner's career as an actress lead me to this book, she totally downplays any glamour and sticks totally to the subject at hand. I applaud all those involved for their courage and insights
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Nicholas Kaufmann on December 21, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I didn't know what to expect from Mia Kirshner's I Live Here, but by the time I was finished, I had discovered depths to the glamorous actress I never knew were there. Now I have an enormous amount of respect for Kirshner.

I Live Here is a work of non-fiction, published with support from Amnesty International USA, about Kirshner's trips to four of the poorest, most desperate places on Earth to gather information and stories from the people: Chechen refugees living in camps in Ingushetia; Burmese refugees in Thailand, most of whom are forced into the sex industry; frightened women in Ciudad Juarez, on the Mexico-Texas border, where over 400 women have disappeared in the last decade, most of them later found dead, their deaths unsolved; and orphans in Malawi, Africa, where one in five people are HIV positive. It's a harrowing, eye opening work. Sometimes it's hard to believe how much misery and suffering exist in this world. We don't always want to be reminded of it, either. It's difficult to read about these places and the desperate people who populate them. But it's also heartening to see how much hope they hold in their hearts for a better tomorrow. The human spirit doesn't give up easily, even in the worst of conditions.

The design of the book is outstanding, too. It's comprised of four separate booklets, one for each place she visited, that are filled with journal entries, stories, photographs and -- most interestingly -- comics: each booklet has at least one "graphic novella." The four booklets are themselves encased in a single hefty, folding cover that is created to look like a whitewashed brick wall.

A fantastic job all around.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Caroline Wilkinson on July 31, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very eye-opening book. Made me want to get up and do something for all of the people that this book talks about. Mia Kirshner's writing style is different, but in a good way that is easy to read and is easy to relate to. Also all of the different types of writing (journals, comics, prose pieces) make this book fresh and interesting.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By on November 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The anthology I Live Here is spearheaded by actress and debut author Mia Kirshner (The L Word) and collects four short books focusing on displaced women and children around the world. A hardcover sleeve opens to reveal four individual paperbacks to pull out and digest one at a time. Each book opens with Kirshner's journals from her travels to each location and is followed by a series of related writings and illustrations.

The first book takes readers to Ingushetia, a refugee camp not far from Grozny, Chechnya, during the fighting that has continued since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. In this book, Kirshner and her cohorts prove to be talented and engaging writers, crafting such vivid imagery (in this collection and the three that follow) of extreme circumstances that it can be almost physically gut-wrenching in the way a Chuck Palahniuk novel has the power to turn readers' stomachs.

It can be overwrought at times, but that physical connection is designed to make readers truly empathize and pay attention to the dismal situations. The authors and artists pull no punches in their depictions of the darkest, dirtiest, and most horrible of things that are happening to their subjects, but it is all with the goal of affecting their readers.

Celebrated comics journalist Joe Sacco contributed a graphic novella, "Chechen War, Chechen Women," to the first book that may be the finest of the collection. Sacco offers an incredible amount of detail--culled from a personal trip to the refugee camp--in his recognizable black-and-white art style.

The second book focuses on Burma, or the Union of Myanmar, the infamous war zone of Southeast Asia that has seen refugees fleeing to bordering Thailand for roughly 50 years.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Andrea Macancela on November 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover
What can I say that hasn't already been said about this AMAZINGLY produced book?

If you have a heart go out and buy a copy of this book. It will change your perspective about life. Also, it makes you realize that more humanitarians are needed in this world.

Mia Kirshner writes from the heart about her experiences to these four places in need of humanitarian efforts.
Dont forget to help out her organization, I Live Here, by making a donation.

Remember that WE are all humans and everyone of us will need help from someone else one day. Give a helping hand today in order to make the difference TOMORROW!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Grouch on January 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What sets this book apart from other similar ones is the cool minds and warm hearts of its creators.

For someone who has been born/raised/lived in wealthy, developed nations, who must have taken basic human rights for granted, the exposure to such darkness must be shocking and enraging at times. Yet, the writers have displayed tremendous refrain from judging the perpetrators/oppressors. While witnessing gut-wrenching human sufferings, a ray of hope from the creators hearts shines through the pages. Yes, things are really f***ed up in these places. Yes, some people, the monsters who plundered, raped and tortured, seemed to be beyond rehabilitation. Yep, thousands of AIDS victims, and their orphans,will die of the lack of medical treatments.

Nonetheless, those writers, especially Mia Kirshner, believes something must be done. She remains hopeful and her heart is brimming with compassion. If you have $20 to spare, go buy this book to help out those much less fortunate than you are!
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