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