Written & Illustrated by: Rutu Modan
Hardcover: 168 pages
Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly
June 2007, $19.99
Genre: Comic/Graphic Novel
Set in modern-day Tel Aviv, a young man, Koby Franco, receives an urgent phone call from a female soldier. Learning that his estranged father may have been a victim of a suicide bombing in Hadera, Koby reluctantly joins the soldier in searching for clues. His death would certainly explain his empty apartment and disconnected phone line. As Koby tries to unravel the mystery of his father’s death, he finds himself piecing together not only the last few months of his father’s life but his entire identity. With thin, precise lines and luscious watercolors, Rutu Modan creates a portrait of modern Israel, a place where sudden death mingles with the slow dissolution of family ties.
Exit Wounds is the North American graphic-novel debut from one of Israel’s best-known cartoonists. Modan has received several awards in Israel and abroad, including the Best Illustrated Children’s Book Award from the Israel Museum in Jerusalem four times and Young Artist of the Year by the Israel Ministry of Culture. She is a chosen artist of the Israel Cultural Excellence Foundation.
Every now and again I find a few treasures at the local library as there are some graphic novels out there that you cannot always find at the local bookstore. I had heard of Exit Wounds long ago, but never managed to pick it up. With this last outing to the library I picked it up and I am glad I did.
It is the story of Koby Franco, a young cab driver in Tel Aviv and the mystery surrounding his estranged father Gabriel. It begins when he meets a young soldier named Numi, who had an affair with his father and who believes he may have been killed in a recent bombing. Together they not only try to discover what happened to Koby’s father, but the journey they take together leads them through love, secrets, identity and what the future and the present hold for you.
It takes a bit to get into the story as you feel like you are thrust right into the middle and in a way I like that. Koby’s life changes so unexpectedly and in ways he never imagined. You cannot help but be thrown a bit and immediately feel as confused as the lead character. You want to find out what happened to Gabriel. You want to discover all of the secrets right along with him.
Things I loved: I enjoyed the open ending, the simple life holds so much finale. The story doesn’t end and I love that. Nothing is tidy and while it is a bit frustrating that we don’t really get to know more about the enigma that is called Gabriel, life doesn’t always give you all of the answers.
* I enjoyed the setting as disturbing as it can be. It is unfortunate that Numi had to differentiate between different bombings that had happened. You see the horrors without being thunked over the head with it all.
* I like how normal the characters are. They are relatable despite the extraordinary circumstances. Numi isn’t perfect and yet you like her nor is Koby.
Things I didn't love so much: I am a bit up in the air about the artwork. The art is very simplistic and in a way it leaves the storytelling to be the focus. It is very Tintin like and I don’t know if that is my thing. I wanted more emotion in the faces and such things are indeed possible with simplistic art. It’s very flat. And yet as I said it leaves the story the focus and sometimes there are graphic novels where the artwork outshines the actual story. I guess I am a bit up in the air on it all.
Buy or Borrow: I would say that it is worth borrowing from your local library.
Part of: Stand Alone
Also Recommended: Pride of Baghdad by Brian K Vaughan.
Has some sexual content along with the violence so it is not for the kiddies. Just a friendly warning.
3 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks
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