Guy Delisle's HOSTAGE
Book review by Dennis D. McDonald
Despite what the tag above says this is not a novel, it's graphic non-fiction. In cartoon panel format employing muted monochrome lines and shading it tells the true story of one French NGO worker kidnapped and held in solitary for 4 months in Chechniya in 1997.
Politics is not the focus. Instead, it's about how aid worker Christophe Andre managed to keep his sanity despite the bad food, isolation, claustrophobia, and lack of information about the outside world. Most of the panels deal with the mundane: eating with one hand while the other is chained to a radiator; grasping for even the tiniest of hopes; keeping the mind alive despite a lack of outside stimulation; constant worry about what's being done -- if anything -- on his behalf; being moved from one location to another without any idea where in the world he is; fearing for what the ultimate intentions of his captors really are.
If you are familiar with Delisle's other work you will recognize the perceptive skill with which he represents daily realities in the context of larger issues. This book takes that ability and raises it to a new level of sophistication.
Review copyright (c) 2018 by Dennis D. McDonald