Rajiv's Reviews

Tears of an Afghan Warlord by Pascale Bourgaux

201801Jan04-TOAWPTears of an Afghan Warlord by Pascale Bourgaux
Released: December 13th 2017
Format: Kindle
Publisher: Europe Comics
Source: NetGalley

Synopsis:

In this documentary comics we meet Belgian journalist Pascale Bourgaux as she travels with a cameraman back to a small village in the north of Afghanistan that she has been visiting regularly for ten years. The village is controlled by the warlord and resistance fighter Mamour Hasan, who fought to expel the Taliban from his land just like the Russians before them.
To her great surprise, she finds the people there weary of the Europeans and corrupt Afghan officials and even the warlord’s own sons seem ready to welcome the return of the Taliban. This book uses the pacing and observational skills of artists Vincent Zabus and Thomas Campi to give a palpable sense of daily life in this troubled, faraway land as well as a behind-the-scenes glimpse of two seasoned journalists at work.

 

A BIG Thank You to NetGalley for providing me a complimentary copy of “Tears of an Afghan Warlord” by Pascale Bourgaux in exchange for my honest review.

I had mixed feelings about this book and am going to just dive in to the pros and cons.

What really attracted me to this novel was the illustrations. Oh my God! The illustrations are simply breathtaking!! Every frame feels like a beautiful work of art done through watercolors. The way the characters are portrayed, and the majestic landscape is shown made me feel like I was enjoying the details of the graphics more than the story itself (which is actually true). Kudos to the talented Thomas Campi for his wonderful artwork skills.

The main problem I had with this story was in its focus. When I first started reading this novel, I had high expectations. I felt that it would be somewhat similar to the Ben Affleck movie “Argo”. However, the way the story was told was just out of place at times for me to get immersed in it. In the beginning, Pascale, the main character, goes to meet her friend Mamour, who is the Afghan warlord of his village, and the story focuses on how she sees his village succumb to the Taliban. Then, the story suddenly shifts focus to her interviewing the woman doctor of the town, and then again re-shifts to her wanting to suddenly escape the country, but not before doing a random side investigation on how 6 men are killed on an army jeep between the Germans and the Afghans. I realize that are all based on true facts, and I am not making light of the situation. However, it is really hard to get invested in the characters and the story when the plot just randomly shifts from one incident to another, without providing any kind of closure to them. At the end, I felt like I just read random incidents that the protagonist went through, which makes me a bit sad, because this is one of those books that has SO much potential to be better.

Having said that, I appreciate the author and team for their efforts in capturing the real live events that took place during their time in Afghanistan. While I may have mixed feelings about this book, it does open my eyes to appreciate how lucky we are as compared to those who are suffering in these economically poor countries. I really hope that there are more stories like this out there, where we get to read about real heroes who take the extra steps to get their stories told and educate the world.

Overall, I am giving this book a 4 out of 5 rating, 3 of which are mainly for the illustration and artwork.

45outof5

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