HOSTAGE: AN INTERVIEW WITH GUY DELISLE
In the gripping new graphic novel Hostage (D+Q), award-winning French cartoonist Guy Delisle retells the story of the kidnapping and abduction of Doctors Without Borders administrator Christophe André, who was held hostage in Chechnya in 1997. Over 400-plus black and blue pages, Delisle uses the unique quirks of the comics medium to tell a harrowing tale of hope and survival. The artist is coming to Harvard Book Store on Monday, May 15, and I had an opportunity to ask him about this amazing new project and the incredible amount of work that went into it …
How did Christophe’s story first come your way?
I read his story first in the newspaper, then I had the chance to meet him because I was visiting a friend at the NGO where he was working. I was very curious to ask him questions but I thought he doesn’t want to talk about that. Being kidnapped is certainly a traumatic experience …
I started to ask him a few questions and he was really open about it. At the end I thought it was so incredible that it would be nice to do a book about that, and he agreed.
It’s amazing he was able to remember every detail and count the days. He was trying to keep his mind so active but also his mind off of his family and his loved ones.
For him every morning it was important that he was keeping track of time, he didn’t know where he was and there was no reason why he was there. The only certain thing was the time, so he was keeping track.
As far as memory goes, I recorded him in 2003 and I worked on the final version of the book in 2015, so I was glad to have the previous recording because his memory was fresh. I also had a document from the NGO right after this happened. I worked with the recordings and that document.