Tuesday, January 19, 2010

10.02 Safe Area Gorazde by Joe Sacco

Safe Area Goražde: The War In Eastern Bosnia 1992-95 (2000) by Joe Sacco Pbk, Fantagraphics Books, 227 p.

Joe Sacco has made a bit of a name for himself as a journalist/graphic novelist. I have previously read his book called Palestine which is about his experiences in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the early 90s. On the strength of that book I picked up Safe Area Goražde.

I really had very little idea what this one was ll about. Obviously I knew broadly about the Bosnian War but would have been hard pressed to describe what it was about or who the major players were. In 1994-1995 Sacco visited the the enclave of Goražde several times and interviewed many of the residents there. He relates their personal experiences in the war and for the most part does so in a dispassionate way. In several cases though Sacco becomes clearly upset about some of the things that he hears about and the book becomes extremely violent. There is nothing wrong with this if they are true events but is is a bit jarring. Nevertheless, war is horrible and the graphic novel is a very strong way of describing it.

I really enjoyed this book and think that it is an important one. I loved the fact that he used regular asides to describe (with maps!) the process of the Bosnian War was super helpful. I feel like I could confidently explain it in a conversation now.

1 comment:

WalkerP said...

Joe Sacco is great. I love his style of illustration and it's awesome that he has evolved into a comics journalist. That scene in Palestine where the guy recounts how the Israeli army cut down all his olive trees (and basically ruined him) was just brutal.

I need to read this one for exactly the reasons you mention above.