In late l991 and early 1992, at the time of the first Intifada, Joe Sacco spent two months with the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, travelling and taking notes.
Upon returning to the United States he started writing and drawing Palestine, which combines the techniques of eyewitness reportage with the medium of comic-book storytelling to explore this complex, emotionally weighty situation.
He captures the heart of the Palestinian experience in image after unforgettable image, with great insight and remarkable humour.
The nine-issue comics series won a l996 American Book Award.
It is now published for the first time in one volume, befitting its status as one of the great classics of graphic non-fiction.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 296 pages
- Publisher: Random House Children's Publishers UK
- Publication Date: 02/01/2003
- Category: True stories
- ISBN: 9780224069823
Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.
Review by Arctic-Stranger
Much like his Safe Area Gorazde, Sacco takes us into the heart of Palestine, showing us the joys and sufferings of the people who live behind the walls that separate them from the rest of the world. The graphic novel approach works very well in this case. For those who are not used to reading serious "comic books" let me assure you, Sacco handles the medium well, and this is nothing like reading X-Men or Superman. Sacco has a heart for people, an ear for dialog, and eye for the world around him. This is a heartbreaking, but delightful book.
Review by wilsonknut
Palestine is often in the top 10 best nonfiction graphic novels lists. Sacco's journalism is scrupulous. His artwork and writing captures the colossal weight of depression, frustration, and anger that is the Palestinian experience. This is a heavy book, regardless of the medium. And you have to keep in mind this is Palestine in the 1990s, before the War on Terror. My only issue with the book, and it is an important one, is that none of the Arabs ever really develop into characters. Their stories all blend together. They all sound the same. Many ask Sacco the exact same questions. Even Sacco's character states several times when he is interviewing Palestinians that he has "heard this all before." I understand that we are to see how common the terror is and how it touches all of the Palestinians, but flat characters just don't punch you in the gut with the Kafkaesque horror of it all. With no character to hold on to, the repetition begins to dull the senses about two-thirds of the way through the book. Ironically, he meets two Israeli women in the last chapter, and they feel more developed in a few pages than most of the Arabs in the first 8 chapters. I imagine this could be because he frantically tried to cram as much experience in the refugee towns as he could in the time given. He was under pressure and too focused on details. With these two women, he was more relaxed, and they seemed to not be part of the original research plan. They just happened. Of course, this is all amateur speculation on my part.It is still a great wok of nonfiction, and like Maus, it validates nonfiction graphic novels as serious literature.