The extraordinary new work by the author of Jerusalem and The Burma Chronicles
HOW DOES ONE SURVIVE WHEN ALL HOPE IS LOST?
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 (Pyongyang, Jerusalem, Shenzhen, Burma Chronicles) 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.
Marking a departure from the author’s celebrated first-person travelogues, Delisle tells the story through the perspective of the titular captive, who strives to keep his mind alert as desperation starts to set in. Working in a pared down style with muted colour washes, Delisle conveys the psychological effects of solitary confinement, compelling us to ask ourselves some difficult questions regarding the repercussions of negotiating with kidnappers and what it really means to be free. Thoughtful, intense, and moving, Hostage takes a profound look at what drives our will to survive in the darkest of moments.
“Guy Delisle conveys great, slow-burning tension in this sublime account of what Christophe Andre endured as a hostage in Chechnya. Delisle’s controlled handling of claustrophobic physical and mental spaces – and the rhythm he generates – is the work of a patient master.”
“A book about a man trapped in the corner of a room should not be exhilarating, but somehow Delisle has managed to create just that. He takes us through Christophe André’s narrative of his time spent as a prisoner with an attention to detail that makes you feel like you’re right there with him, chained to a radiator, counting the days to keep yourself from losing your mind. My heart was racing by the end.”
“A gripping visual narrative… You’re able to absorb the terrible accretion of time in a single glace – at which point you suddenly grasp just how well the comic serves this particular story. All this darkness and claustrophobia shouldn’t be exhilarating. The fact Delisle makes it so is yet another reason why he must be counted as one of the greatest cartoonists of our age.”
Rachel Cooke, Observer
“Here, Delisle takes a back seat and interprets someone else’s extraordinary experiences… As a graphic novelist, working with a lone, often inactive protagonist and a minimum of bare props… Delisle draws each day in cycles of subtle variations… Readers will find themselves held hostage to the end by Guy Delisle’s immersive interpretation of one ordinary man’s extraordinary resilience.”
Paul Gravett, Times Literary Supplement
“David Jones, described here by his biographer Thomas Dilworth as “the lost great modernist,” has slipped through the floorboards of history… Dilworth traces Jones’s decline in the 1960s and 1970s, but transmutes this chronicle of growing indigence and overlooked genius into an oddly cheering narrative. His love of his subject is both clear and wildly infectious.”
David Jones, Prospect