By Rutu Modan
There are a great many stories from the troubled land within Israel’s problematic borders. Modan has brought just one very simple tale to life in her fine graphic novel, Exit Wounds.
It tells the story of a young man with a neglectful and largely absent father who goes missing. The young woman who thinks she knows what may have happened to him persuades our protagonist to join her in investigating a suicide bombing in the cafeteria where the father was last seen. To someone more accustomed to reading stories set in more stable regions of the world, it is shocking and novel to engage with one in which suicide bombings and street corner soldiers are commonplace. Modan’s crisp cartoon style brings modern Israel to life perfectly – her country’s horrors are not sensationalised or over dramatised (one easy but not entirely fair criticism of Joe Sacco). Modan draws with precision and cleanliness. Her characters are equally fine, although this can sometimes make them rather two-dimensional, where Sacco’s never are.
It’s a simple story about identity and life in a problematic state. Recommended if you’d like to see more of modern Israel.