Top critical review
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on 16 June 2013
While this book says little that is really new about the Israeli-Palestinian imbroglio, the facts, impressions and insights are engagingly presented by an experienced and intrepid traveller. I learnt a good deal about some of the details of life for both Israelis and Palestinians. But he did not get under the skin of those Israelis who feel embattled and threatened, who find deep within themselves a sense of the insecurity of the Jewish people since AD 70. Perhaps he didn't meet any he could talk to.
If Delisle is a faux naïf, no matter. The technique works reasonably well.
But the book has two drawbacks:
1.although he CAN draw well for other contexts, Delisle adopts a shorthand draughtsmanship which didn't appeal at all to me. His treatment of faces - and particularly eyes and mouths - makes people look either expressionless or positively ugly. I was sorry to see his partner depicted in this way. Delisle uses dialogue to express character but couldn't he also draw people with that aim in mind? He misses golden opportunities: why no large scale drawing of the model presented to Sultan Selim I?
2. The translator has rendered Delisle's French is a curious N American demotic which - to my ears at least - made Delisle seem more flippant than he was. At any rate, the result is not verbally stylish.