Sunday, March 6, 2016

Comic Relief: a review of Joe Sacco's PALESTINE

Sacco, Joe. Palestine. London: Jonathan Cape. 2003. Print.

I am not a fan of Sacco's style of illustrating. The pictures and people look ugly. That being said, he knows what he is doing. His graphic collection is a hard and honest glimpse into the lives of Palestinians living in camps and elsewhere in the occupied land. It's tough. The stories are tough, and he truly portrays the realities of life there. It's nothing to be shot, go to prison, be beaten, have two sons killed, to have your olive trees cut down because a soldier thinks someone threw a rock from your field. Speaking of rocks, there were plenty in this book and in the stories. Sacco manages to portray through his settings, the realism of harsh landscape, pitted roads, no sewage, and above all, the intensely dense flurry and fury of overcrowding and overpopulation. And still, there is a balance between horror and hospitality, homelessness and home. Sacco never lets the reader forget he is an outsider, as he clearly identifies himself as a reporter looking for the story. As a good journalist, he actually delivers a balanced POV and reliable feature narration. Even though I don't like his style, I'll read more of his work. It's interesting and necessary. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to be better informed about crises, current and past, in the Middle East.

"The Boys." PALESTINE, pp. 190-191

For more about the author, check out his author page.

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