Hostage by Guy Delisle


 Hostage by Guy Delisle, translation from the French by Helge Dascher; Drawn & Quarterly, 2017. 9781770462791

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4

What did you like about the book?  This is a compelling graphic novel with first person narration in the voice of Christophe André, a Doctors Without Borders administrator who was kidnapped in Ingushetia in 1997. The author describes André’s helpless terror as he is taken from his bedroom in the middle of the night, led to an unknown location, and handcuffed to a radiator, not knowing who has taken him, or why. The reader looks down at the captive from above, as he lies on his mattress, with subtle changes of grayish light from the boarded up windows. We witness his ruminations, his worries, his hopes soaring and crashing as time goes on and he wonders how he can stand another day of captivity, as he cannot communicate with his captors, he has nothing to read, he cannot move from his bed except when he is freed to eat or use the washroom, and he doesn’t know if efforts are being made for his release. His captors are not sadistic or cruel, which only emphasizes André’s inner turmoil. Delisle conveys André’s captivity in varying shades of blue and gray, with repetitive cels where little changes, emphasizing the monotony of the imprisonment.

Anything you didn’t like about it? Very little information is given as possible reasons why he was ransomed.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Recommend to those who like graphic non fiction, especially the other work of Guy Delisle.

Who should buy this book? High school and public libraries

Where would you shelve it ? Adult or Young adult graphic non fiction

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA

Date of review: May 7, 2017

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