February 24, 2015

2/11/15 - Graphic Novel

As the title says, this week I read a book for the challenge of Graphic Novel! The book chosen was Jerusalem, by Guy Delisle.

I am a huge fan of graphic novels, and when I saw this sizable little book with the simple, rather quirky artwork, and set in Jerusalem, no less, I was really excited! To see Jerusalem through a visual medium, experience complex and controversial culture, maybe get some insight into the city's religions--

It wasn't... quite what I expected. Or wanted, really.

I can't quite put my finger on what I didn't like about it. Maybe it was just... too simple, though that's what was attractive about it at first. It's very centered on the author's experience of Jerusalem, rather than on Jerusalem itself. And you get the feeling that Delisle didn't actually have that much respect for Jerusalem itself. 

Most of the panels were taken up with a vague feeling of judgment, or disapproval, or disrespect, or flat-out annoyance. It was distracting, and it made the whole progression of the slice-of-life story feel uncomfortable. Almost as if Delisle was taking out his frustrations with the difficult situations in Jerusalem on his portrayal of the city.

There were some good panels, of course, and it's not like Delisle is a bad artist. It's just that he's not a fantastic one, and that coupled with an uncertain attitude about his city-subject made Jerusalem a lot less impactful than I had hoped it would be.

Note: Jerusalem was originally published in French under the title Chroniques de J√©rusalem.

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