Hostage

Hostage

Book - 2017
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"In the middle of the night in 1997, Doctors Without Borders administrator Christophe André was kidnapped by armed men and taken away to an unknown destination in the Caucasus region. For three months, André was kept handcuffed in solitary confinement, with little to survive on and almost no contact with the outside world. Close to twenty years later, award-winning cartoonist Guy Delisle ... recounts André's harrowing experience in Hostage, a book that attests to the power of one man's determination in the face of a hopeless situation."--
Publisher: Montréal, Québec : Drawn & Quarterly, 2017
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781770462793
1770462791
Branch Call Number: 364.15409 An251D 2017
Characteristics: 432 pages : chiefly illustrations ; 23 cm
Additional Contributors: Dascher, Helge 1965-

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MelissaBee
Oct 10, 2017

Guy Delisle is a favorite graphic novelist of mine, both for his fresh and accessible illustrations as well as his clear and inquisitive voice . I consider him a fine journalist in both senses of the word--as an avid observer and chronicler of his own everyday life and as a reporter detailing the political and social landscapes of the many non-western locations he has spent time in, seeking to understand peoples and places.

"Hostage" is a bit of a diversion from this tradition in that the author himself does not appear in the story and not much detail is provided about the people or the political atmosphere in which the action takes place. Rather, Delisle focuses claustrophobically on the experience of captivity as lived by Christophe Andre, an administrator with a humanitarian NGO, kidnapped in Ingushetia and held in Chechnya in 1997. As I read, I often found myself wishing for more context for the story, but I grew to appreciate Delisle's decision to focus strictly on the feeling life of Andre as he endured the boredom, pain, and uncertainty of his situation. Delisle's sparse, shadowed drawings echo the emptiness of Andre's existence as he attempts to survive not only the constraint of his physical body, as he is kept handcuffed to a radiator or locked in a closet, but also the worry that eats at his wellbeing as his mind tries desperately to make sense of his situation, working on any little bit of information to try to make a picture of when his suffering might end. As a very casual student of mindfulness, I could not help but notice Andre's valiant struggle to keep his mind from increasing the pain he already felt due to circumstances he could not control.

This book may not capture the reader looking for a fast paced story or a more fact filled description of the events in Chechnya that occur in parallel to this account, but the reader who enjoys exploring the human condition, especially how we may survive events we can not control, will find this book of interest.

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