Sunday, February 25, 2007

Safe Area Gorazde

by Joe Sacco.

Note: I'm putting this in adult nonfiction rather than graphic novel because this is “graphic nonfiction,” so to speak, and graphic novel on LG is associated with younger readers, which would not be appropriate in this case.

In this work, Sacco brings to readers the story of the town of Gorazde, one of the so-called “safe areas” established by the United Nations during the war in Bosnia during the 1990s, in illustrations that are both gorgeous and grotesque. A war correspondent, Sacco made friends with and interviewed locals as well as the Muslim refugees who fled to the town from other “ethnically cleansed” communities. This work is a combination of the results of those interviews, his experience of daily life in Gorazde, and representations of other scenes based on external research. His drawings convey the harsh realities of a land destroyed and a people slaughtered, as well as hope as peace approached and arrived. The text lays out in clear language the history of the conflict, going back to World War II. Sacco brings home the impact of war on human beings in a format that entertains as it educates. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll rage, but you won't regret picking up this one. -- Inanna

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