Saturday, May 27, 2017


Hostage is Guy Delisle's newest graphic novel.  It was published last month by Canada's Drawn and Quarterly.  The book recounts the experiences of Christophe Andre who was kidnapped in 1997 in the Caucasus where he was working for Doctors Without Borders.  He was held for four months in Chechnya. The story is told just as Andre told it to the author.

Andre spent his days counting them so that he could keep track of time.  He was held in empty rooms and a closet during his captivity.  In order to remain sane he would replay in his mind old military battles.  He was fed the same soup for every meal of every day.  His thoughts about what his NGO was doing to rescue him and when it might happen created some suspense as you felt that it might actually happen the way he fantasized about it.

I have read all of Delisle's travelogues and they were cute and humorous. Hostage is a different book.  Not only is it a serious book, the reader cannot help but feel the same thoughts that Andre was feeling, understanding the discomfort of being handcuffed to a radiator, and wondering along with Andre when he will next get some information about his situation.  You feel that you are in that room with him.

The color scheme is various muted greys for each page which conveys the heavy mood of the story.  It is most appropriate for a tale such as this.

I think that Hostage is Delisle's best book to date.  While his other novels were great they did not contain any suspense and as a mystery reader I appreciate that.

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