Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Reader's Diary #1703- Brigitte Finakly and Lewis Trondheim, translated by Helge Dascher: Poppies of Iraq

For us North American with no ties to the middle east, it's easy to get a very skewed, ignorant picture of that part of the world, one that doesn't see any cultural differences between one country and the next, one that doesn't change. Most of what I've read has been set in Iran rather than Iraq and so, I'll admit I found myself comparing (at least to the best of my recollection) the two countries.

I should also acknowledge that these are large countries in terms of size and population and one person's experience is not necessarily an average experience. Poppies of Iraq is Brigitte Finakly's memoirs, and as an Orthodox Christian with a French mother, surely her life growing up in Iraq was different than most. Of course, those differences, that unique point of view are largely responsible for making this book so interesting. It's a character-driven social studies lesson with occasional poignant themes of immigrant/ refugee experience.

The art is fine, if not a bit simple. It reminded me of travel comics in that most scenes merely illustrated the text rather than interact with it. But it was coloured nicely and the lack of panels complimented the nostalgic aspect of the memories. The largely expressionless characters balanced out the nostalgia with a more pragmatic tone.

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