Saturday, November 10, 2012

Burma Chronicles

This is the third travelogue from Guy Delisle, an illustrator and animator who travels the globe for work and also to accompany his wife who is involved in Doctors without Borders. Thus, he gets around to some very interesting places. He is a Canadian and his primary language, as you can tell from his blog, is French.

This is his most best, most insightful book to me, as it delves into the political milieu in Myanmar as it relates to Doctors without Borders much more than the others. There is much discussion about whether the organization can operate in this country independently in ways that treat those in need or if it is being turned into an instrument of the state that openly discriminates against those the dictatorial regime deems enemies. Added to this political dilemma is the fact that Delisle is for the first time in a country along with his infant son, placing him in everyday contexts and allowing him to see the social conditions as both a citizen and a parent.

Reviews I have read about the book have been very positive. The Guardian's Rory MacLean praised the book, calling it "the most enlightening and insightful book on Burma in years," and adding, "The key to its success are Delisle's whimsical, black-and-white drawings, as well as his endearingly naïve and humorous self-portrait. Together his honesty and minimal line disarm the reader, drawing him or her into Delisle's life, learning as he learns the truth about the struggle for survival under the generals." J. Caleb Mozzocco called Delisle's work "highly evocative minimalism," going on glowingly, "He’s spent a decade in animation, and it certainly shows in his command of the page, and the time and space the panels suggest upon it." Kirkus Reviews called the book an "insightful, illuminating memoir."

This book was published by Drawn and Quarterly. Some preview images and reference material for the book have been provided here by the author.

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