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One of the best of the year so far. I pat myself on the back for having decided to read more non-fiction graphic novels and choosing Guy Delisle because of our trip to Canada (he’s Quebecois).

Delisle’s partner works for Doctors without Borders so he’s been a temporary “trailing spouse” and stay-at-home-dad in some of the world most challenging regions. Apart from Jerusalem he also recorded his experiences in Pyongyang, Burma and Shenzhen.

This is a personal travelogue of his year in the Holy City and it includes everything from the mundane to the geopolitical, from going to the supermarket to his attempts to enter Gaza, from visiting the zoo to experiencing the 2008-2009 Gaza War.

It’s a brilliant book because Delisle is inquisitive, sharp-eyed and funny. He is also highly aware of being a non-believing outsider in a country full of religious complexities and paradoxes, just like I felt when I was there myself.

The self-mocking humor of this stranger in a strange land is the book’s heart and soul, and because of it the though-provoking moments are that much stronger. Delisle’s clever light touch can have as much impact as, for instance, Joe Sacco’s more intense perspective.

His style is monochromatic, his language (I read it in French) simple and conversationalist. Both feel very appropriate somehow, probably because the subject is already complex enough.

Chroniques de Burma is already waiting in the TBR shelf! Have you read anything by him?

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