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Cartoonist Guy Delisle’s world travels take him to an explosive new setting: Jerusalem

J. Caleb Mozzocco

The Details

Jerusalem: Chronicles from the Holy City
Four stars
By Guy Delisle
Drawn and Quarterly, $28

Cartoonist Guy Delisle married well. His wife works with France’s Medecins San Frontieres, and he travels with her to far-flung parts of the world that become his subjects. While she works he draws, and eventually, he produces thick, brick-like books about life in places like China, North Korea, Burma and, in his latest, Jerusalem.

This locale differs from his past subjects in that it’s a place where English is common and he could pass as a resident. But it’s a city so unlike any other that, in many ways, it might as well be another planet.

Delisle is an atheist, making him even more of an outsider in the Holy City, where Jews, Muslims and Christians (and seemingly infinite sub-divisions of each) jostle to dominate land and culture. Despite potentially explosive events—there are, literally, explosions—Delisle’s default mode is more bemused than political.

It would be wrong to call him objective or completely unbiased, but his main focus is, as always, not on telling readers how things should be, but rather on how they were while he was there.


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  • An offhand touch and the plot's peculiar circumstances help lighten the sometimes dark story.

  • The author's new collection is creepy, titillating and impossible to put down.

  • Art history as a continual unfolding of ideas and forms is just one of the author's concerns.

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