Guy Delisle's newest graphic travelogue, Jerusalem: Chronicles from the Holy City (Drawn and Quarterly), about his time living there with his Medecins Sans Frontiers administrator wife and their two children, is a revelation. As an outsider in a politically and culturally complex city, Delisle brings a fresh eye to his work with subtlety and detail. His graphics — and there are many of them as he depicts the quotidian alongside his travels throughout the Holy Land — comment evenhandedly on the paradoxes inherent in such a religiously and culturally complex place, as well as the mundanities of day-to-day family expat life, which include his stretches as a stay-at-home parent. In one car ride, Delisle's wife describes a suicide-bomb scare at a checkpoint she had to cross in order to leave Gaza, where she works. As they drive through West Jerusalem, the two parents discuss whether and when there might be more suicide bombs. The conversation ends when Delisle notices a nice playground, something he's been searching for in the otherwise garbage-strewn city. Through such juxtapositions of high-stakes moments and everyday occurrences, Delisle is able to draw our attention to both extremes. The story, the observations, and the visuals combine beautifully and thoughtfully in the hands of this gifted animator. His book tour events will, thankfully, include a slideshow.
Tue., May 1, 7:30 p.m., 2012
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