Drawn and Quarterly, 2017
In the middle of the night in 1997, Doctors Without Borders administrator Christophe Andre was kidnapped by armed men and taken away to an unknown destination in the Caucasus region. For three months, Andre 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 Andre 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 color 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.
Well, Hostage wasn’t a very exciting book. A lot of the panels looked exactly the same. If Delisle was trying to recreate the endless monotony of being held captive, he did a great job! In spite of the fact that Hostage was a long book, it read quickly. My favorite part was that of his escape (which is not a spoiler, you know from the beginning that Christophe told his story to a reporter.) I can’t imagine going through what Christophe did, but I would have appreciated a shorter book.