Guy Delisle: Jerusalem: Chronicles from the Holy City

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Watching the news from the Middle East, it’s often very difficult to understand how the situation there is possible. It seems to escape all logic. Delisle brings light to that obscurity just by describing his personal experiences in Jerusalem during one year in his graphic novel. His smooth, but minimal line is ideal to this particular story. As the premises are so complex, the visual clarity establishes a harmony essential to understand the story he’s telling.

Jerusalem: the Holy City, Guy Delisle

Author: Guy Delisle
Publisher: WSOY 2012, Finland (the Finnish edition)
Category: Graphic novel
Original language: French
Rating: 5/5

HelMet Reading Challenge 2017: number 44. A book about a faith or religion.

Delisle moved to Jerusalem thanks to his spouse’s job – she went there to do administrative work for Médecines sans Frontiéres. Guy Delisle is the house dad taking care of the children and trying to spare some time to his own work, when the kids are at school. As he moves around the area in his everyday affairs and sometimes quite extraordinary trips with other expatriates or foreign aid workers, he presents a picture of a world balancing on a tightrope above a boiling kettle.

All the different religions, and fractions of those religions, political ideas, economic questions and human ambitions clash in that small arid patch of a land. It is a riddle impossible to solve, as its web has been woven too deep and too broad to even comprehend. The best that can ever be done is to find a compromise – something that all these differing views could live with and learn to tolerate.

Guy Delisle’s graphic novel is a crash course to the life in Israel hard to find anywhere else – unless you’re planning on staying in the country for at least one year.

Susan

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