In the middle of the night in 1997, Doctors Without Borders administrator Christophe André was kidnapped by armed men and taken away to an unknown destination in the Caucasus region. For three months, André was kept handcuffed in solitary confinement, with little to survive on and almost no contact with the outside world. Close to twenty years later, award-winning cartoonist Guy Delisle (Pyongyang, Jerusalem, Shenzhen, Burma Chronicles) recounts André’s harrowing experience in Hostage, a book 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 perspective of the titular captive, who strives 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 really 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.
"The location captured [in Hostage] is less Andre's grim little room than his mind . . . Delisle transmute[s] tedium into compelling suspense."—The New York Times
"The account of André's experience . . . would be powerful enough, if depicted in prose alone. But Hostage is a comic, and it's Delisle's art—his character design, his use of page and panel layout to underscore the mind-numbing sameness of solitary confinement while controlling the story's mood and pacing—that makes us feel André's plight so deeply."—Glen Weldon, NPR
"This true story of a man’s kidnapping in Chechnya confirms Guy Delisle’s position as one of the greatest modern cartoonists."—Rachel Cooke, The Guardian
"Harrowing and beautiful . . . I've felt haunted by the book since I finished it."—John Warner, Chicago Tribune
"Hostage shows what it's like to be held captive . . . Delisle brings readers into the room with the hostage and, more importantly, into his state of mind."—The Atlantic