Writer and Artist: Guy Delisle
|via Drawn & Quarterly|
Guy Delisle is a Quebecois graphic novelist best known for his travel narratives. I have featured his work for the Cephalopod Coffeehouse twice before: here and here. In late 1997, he was sent to Shenzhen, China to serve as liaison between a Belgian animation company and their layout artists in China. His tales lack the exoticism of Burma Chronicles. The city, essentially a mainland satellite of Hong Kong, seems to offer very little charm. Few he meet are English/Chinese bilingual. No one speaks his native French. His experience consists of work and his valiant attempts at building a routine life. Sounds pretty dull, right?
And yet, there's much to glean from Delisle's adventure. The Chinese he meets and works with lead the same sort of humdrum lives and unlike him, they're stuck. They are curious about the outside world but have little access to it. His tales of struggling to communicate and derive what joy he can from life are highly amusing. We share in his relief when his three-month stint is over. I don't think this is the book that would have drawn me into his work but I'm glad to have read it.