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Delise has made his own genere. He draws out his daylilife in exotic places. This time he's a homewife in Jerusalem. His wife is having an interesting job in Gaza while he's looking for playgrounds, cafés and descent kindergartens in the city. Delise want's to get to Gaza too, but he never gets there. The story is slow, but he manages to give the reader interesting information about the history and the present situaton in Israel.
While this book says little that is really new about the Israeli-Palestinian imbroglio, the facts, impressions and insights are engagingly presented by an experienced and intrepid traveller. I learnt a good deal about some of the details of life for both Israelis and Palestinians. But he did not get under the skin of those Israelis who feel embattled and threatened, who find deep within themselves a sense of the insecurity of the Jewish people since AD 70. Perhaps he didn't meet any he could talk to.
If Delisle is a faux naïf, no matter. The technique works reasonably well.
But the book has two drawbacks: 1.although he CAN draw well for other contexts, Delisle adopts a shorthand draughtsmanship which didn't appeal at all to me. His treatment of faces - and particularly eyes and mouths - makes people look either expressionless or positively ugly. I was sorry to see his partner depicted in this way. Delisle uses dialogue to express character but couldn't he also draw people with that aim in mind? He misses golden opportunities: why no large scale drawing of the model presented to Sultan Selim I? 2. The translator has rendered Delisle's French is a curious N American demotic which - to my ears at least - made Delisle seem more flippant than he was. At any rate, the result is not verbally stylish.
as far as reading a graphic novel goes, I was surprised/pleased that the book was able to present more to me that I had anticipated. I am drawn to the format more than I expected. but that said, at first I felt the narration was presented so we could draw our own conclusions. but when only one side was presented over and over, I began to wonder why the author wasn't working at investigating more angles in such a setting. and also, I was a little annoyed at the "housewife" presentations. maybe the author wanted to present lazy as a humorous angle, but I felt the depictions of "oh well, too bad, oh woe is me" fell flat. too much of "this is what happened to me because I was not proactive" and not enough of "i'm trying to illustrate life in this city, so I should make continual efforts to explore diverse angles." i'm left with a shrug and a certain lack of empathy, which is rare for me.
Plainly a passerby account of this complex and complicated city/region/conflict presented in a know it all manner that is not particularly "balanced", objective or illuminating. This said, I enjoy Delisle's drawing style and that provided an excuse to make it through the book. Similar to his take on North Korea, seems like another missed opportunity to offer something more profound and insightful...rather than superficial treatment.