Exit Wounds


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Drawn and Quarterly


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1897299834

9781897299838

168 Pages

$19.95

Request Desk Copy Request Exam Copy
Set in modern-day Tel Aviv, a young man, Koby Franco, receives an urgent phone call from a female soldier. Learning that his estranged father may have been a victim of a suicide bombing in Hadera, Koby reluctantly joins the soldier in searching for clues. His death would certainly explain his empty apartment and disconnected phone line. As Koby tries to unravel the mystery of his father’s death, he finds himself piecing together not only the last few months of his father’s life but his entire identity. With thin, precise lines and luscious watercolors, Rutu Modan creates a portrait of modern Israel, a place where sudden death mingles with the slow dissolution of family ties.

Exit Wounds is the North American graphic-novel debut from one of Israel’s best-known cartoonists. Modan has received several awards in Israel and abroad, including the Best Illustrated Children’s Book Award from the Israel Museum in Jerusalem four times and Young Artist of the Year by the Israel Ministry of Culture. She is a chosen artist of the Israel Cultural Excellence Foundation.

REVIEWS

Praise for Exit Wounds

"The most thrilling, gorgeous, complex and satisfying new graphic novel in years comes from Israel, written and illustrated by a woman whose storytelling skills and ability to capture emotional nuances in her characters are right up there at the top, on an equal with Marjane Satrapi and Alison Bechdel, the two reigning goddesses of graphic storytelling.  The story is a grabber and unfolds expertly. A woman serving her military duty tells our appealing hero, Koby, a young taxi-cab driver in Tel Aviv, that she has good reason to think his estranged father was blown up in a recent bombing. (Let me mention right now that the entire novel, hinged on terrorist activity, contains not a single anti-Palestinian comment. The lack of hatred and blame in Modan's world is part of the compassion that plays throughout the story.)  How she convinces Koby to help her find out what happened to his father, and what they discover, is Chinese boxes-within-boxes of secrets and lies. It's a superb mystery, full of false conclusions and theory-breakers wrecking each of your theories. The two central characters are both so likeable and complex—and constantly fighting—that they're straight out of classic comedy, except that they feel utterly real and you ache for their confusion, played out against the tortured backdrop of Tel Aviv, a city constantly taking the lives of its own citizens in explosive bloodbaths.  Modan works in big, bold colors, wisely knows what to show instead of tell and generates a sense of perpetual surprise, of rugs constantly being jerked out from under you. The volume is visually rich, handsomely produced, utterly unsentimental in tone, witty and heartbreaking and humane, with a jim-dandy ending. Graphic novel doubters, here's the one that will break your resistance."—Nick DiMartino
 
"This first graphic novel from an award-winning Israeli illustrator tells the story of Koby Franco, a 20-something cab driver working in Tel Aviv. Franco's everyday life screeches to a halt when he receives a phone call from a soldier claiming his estranged father was killed by a suicide bomber at a train station. He and the young woman enter into a journey that takes them through cemeteries, train stations, and Franco's father's disheveled apartment to determine whether the man is dead or alive. The black-and-white artwork, with its thin lines accented by simple watercolor brushstrokes, combines with precise dialogue to convey subtle and powerful emotions throughout the story. Limited depictions of sex, nudity, and violence both in the story and the pictures make this a work that confronts mature themes in an emotionally complex manner. Franco's journey draws a portrait of modern Israel, showing how people cope with the violence around them as they go about their day-to-day lives. Modan doesn't shy away from criticizing some of the attitudes the state of Israel holds, hinting that these exacerbate some of the problems with the Palestinians. But the core of the story rests on Franco dealing with not only all the anger he feels toward his father, but also with the realization that he still loves him and has much to learn from him. An accomplished and moving book."—Matthew L. Moffett, Pohick Regional Library, Burke, Virginia, School Library Journal
 
"Tel Aviv cab driver Koby has been alienated from Gabriel, his father, for years when he is pulled into a search for Gabriel's body in the wake of a bus station bombing. Koby is irritated with having to consider Gabriel again and with the strange young woman, Numi, apparently Gabriel's paramour, who insists on Koby's help. Time and Numi's unabating energy for tracking induce Koby to reflect on all he doesn't know about his father's life, let alone his possible death. The relationship between Koby and Numi builds, as it must given their proximity and the emotional tension each brings to the search. But there are tensions other than father-son, man-woman, and romantic-pragmatic at work. Numi and Koby are of different classes, civic life in Israel is conducted with an unblinking eye for possible terrorism, and Gabriel kept many secrets that become only partially revealed. An excellent storyteller, Modan balances plot and characterization well. Meanwhile, her art is intricate enough to fully evoke physical setting and cultural context."—Booklist

"Tel Aviv-based Modan gives American comics readers a sharp sense of Israeli life in this brilliant and moving graphic novel. The story follows Koby Franco, a young taxi driver and lost soul, as he searches for his missing father, a man who long ago left the family and may or may not have been killed in a suicide bomb attack. Assisting and prodding him is Nuni, a young soldier who was romantically involved with the missing father. Modan takes her characters across Israel and through a variety of different Israeli social strata as the search progresses. Along the way it becomes clear that Koby's father's identity is in flux—he leaves all those that he loves, but touches on everything it means to be an Israeli: family man, soldier, religious practitioner and, perhaps, victim. Modan is a deft and subtle storyteller, and her meditation on Israeli identity and the possibilities of love and trust (between father and son, woman and man) are finely wrought. Her loose, expressive drawing is both tremendously evocative and precise—always enhancing the plot. The stellar combination makes this one of the major graphic novels of 2007."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Reviews from Goodreads

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BOOK EXCERPTS

Read an Excerpt

RUTU MODAN graduated from the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Tel Aviv, where she lives. A member of the Israeli comics group Actus Tragicus, she has done illustrations for children's books as well as for The New York Times, The New Yorker, and Le Monde. This is her first graphic novel.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


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  • Rutu Modan graduated from the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Tel Aviv, where she lives. A member of the Israeli comics group Actus Tragicus, she has done illustrations for children’s books as well as for The New York Times, The New Yorker, and Le Monde. This is her first graphic novel.
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