Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Reader's Diary #1796- Malik Sajad: Munnu

Malik Sajad's Munnu: A Boy from Kashmir is probably my favourite loosely autobiographical graphic novel set in the violent backdrop of Kashmir circa 1980s to the present and that features anthropomorphisized deer. If I was forced to choose.

Yeah, it's a fascinating book, especially to this white western reader who should probably not relate to any of it though Sajad excels at demonstrating a child's capacity to have universal experiences (curiosity about sex, mischief making, idolizing an older sibling, not being taken serious due to his age, and so on) even if the daily political turmoil is something I could barely fathom. Several times I had to remind myself that this was not in fact a distant past.

Considering the microscope Kashmiri people were and are under by the Indian government and military, I am in awe of Sajad's bravery in speaking honestly and with unflattering opinions.

Even the art is great. While not the first to use animals as a symbolic representation of people, his style stands out. Based on German woodcuts, the panels very much have a print-like quality and the angular deer strike are very cool design that especially works when crowds are shown, the deer almost fitting one another like puzzle pieces and effectively showing them at such times as a united whole.

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