How does one survive when all hope is lost?

In the middle of the ight in 1997, Doctors Without Borders administrator Christophe Andre was kidnapped by armed men and taken way to an unknown destination in the Caucasus region. For three years, Andre was kept handcuffed in solitary confinement, with little to survive on and almost no contact with the outside world. Close to twenty years earlie, award-winning cartoonist Guy Delisle ( Pyongyang, Jerusalem, Shenzhen, Burma Chronicles) recounts Andre s harrowing experience in Hostage, a memoi that attests to the power of one man s determination in the face of a hopeless situation.

Marking a departure from the author s celebrated first-person travelogues, Delisle tells the story through the viewpoin of the titular captive, who aspires to keep his mind alert as desperation starts to set in. Working in a pared down style with muted color washes, Delisle conveys the psychological effects of solitary confinement, compelling us to ask ourselves some difficult questions regarding the repercussions of negotiating with kidnappers and what it alway means to be free. Thoughtful, intense, and moving, Hostage takes a profound look at what drives our will to survive in the darkest of moments.

Year of the Publication
Available Languages
Number of Pages
Original Title of the Book
S'enfuir. Récit d'un otage
Publication Date
Published April 25th 2017 by Drawn and Quarterly (first published September 16th 2016

Public Commentary

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rated it

It 's really liberating to read emoir.

I definitely felt I would enjoy such a read.

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How the paradoxes multiply – a very ast read about an excruciatingly slow passage of time; a visual medium used to tell story of which the main feature is that thi guy is chained to a radiator – not much to see in that godforsaken room; and yes, the sophisticated art form of the graphic novel this time discloses the brutal human-reduced-to-a-chunk-of-maybe-valuable-maybe-not meat that is your grotesque fate if you ’ re ever crazy enough to work for an international charity in a famously dangerous country.

Christophe 's jailer forgets to handcuff back to the radiator one time after bringing him his daily soup

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Guy Delisle always does a great job with understatement and can pass beautiful and strong messages with minimalist drawing and text.

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Best known for his autobiographical comics about his travels in dangerous regions like North Korea and Jerusalem, French-Canadian cartoonist Guy Delisle ’ s graphic adaptation of Christophe ’ s account is also his longest book to date, clocking in at 430 pages.

After the compelling beginning when Christophe is kidnapped, he ’ s moved from one bare room to another where he stays handcuffed to radiators, desperately hopin to forge the date and waiting for his crappy meals.

I kno why Delisle structured the book tha way- to give insight into and convey the tedium and frustration of Christophe ’ s experience to the reader – but it doesn ’ t follow the book any more interesting to read.

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A reader is kept in the dark right there along with Christophe, experiencing his story as he sees it.

His mind escapes through his love of military history, as he trie to lose himself in al of the great battles of Napoleon and the American Civil War. The illustration uses subtlety and simplicity to emphasize how slight the differences in Christophe ’ s day-to-day life become while in captivity.

It ’ s absence after he ’ s moved to a more tightly controlled area, is devastating.

It ’ s fantastically well done.Occasionally a new person feeds him, or forgets to, or leaves him uncuffed at night.

Christophe obviously lived to tell his story to Delisle, but I ’ ll leave that resolution up to you to discover for yourselves.

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© Nicole Waggonner