Thursday, March 26, 2009


by Guy Delisle

This book is very similar in style, if not substance, to Pyongyang, Delisle's first graphic travelogue.

The biggest difference is that, large electric fence notwithstanding, the people of Shenzhen have more freedom in their lives than the average person in China, therefore making them a lot less exotic and interesting than the people of North Korea. As well, where North Korea is all about glorifying the regime, Shenzhen is all about the mighty dollar, which is not as intriguing to Westerners - we're used to it.

To make up for the lack of a sense of peeking behind a forbidden curtain, Delisle opts to derive more humour at the expense of the people around him. I found the door-man who is constantly practising his English on Delisle to be hilarious, even though very little space was given over to him.

I also felt like there was more of an over-all narrative structure to this graphic novel. Pyongyang felt like lots of unconnected vignettes, while this was more of a structured travelogue. The art in this book is great - he really captures the pace with which the city is being constructed, and his figures have more individuality to them than they did in the first book.

No comments: