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Shenzhen: A Travelogue from China by Guy…
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Shenzhen: A Travelogue from China (edition 2012)

by Guy Delisle, Helge Dascher (Translator)

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6753025,406 (3.68)28
Shenzhenis entertainingly compact with Guy Delisle's observations of life in urban southern China, sealed off from the rest of the country by electric fences and armed guards. With a dry wit and a clean line, Delisle makes the most of his time spent in Asia overseeing outsourced production for a French animation company. He brings to life the quick pace of Shenzhen's crowded streets. By translating his fish-out-of-water experiences into accessible graphic novels, Delisle skillfully notes the differences between Western and Eastern cultures, while also conveying his compassion for the simple freedoms that escape his colleagues in the Communist state.… (more)
Member:tidepooltostars
Title:Shenzhen: A Travelogue from China
Authors:Guy Delisle
Other authors:Helge Dascher (Translator)
Info:Drawn and Quarterly (2012), Edition: 0, Paperback, 152 pages
Collections:Your library
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Shenzhen by Guy Delisle

Asia (97)
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English (21)  Dutch (3)  Spanish (2)  Finnish (2)  French (2)  All languages (30)
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
I was expecting more from this one.

The art isn't great, to my taste: very rough strokes, little detail, and too much ink everywhere (it seems to me), which makes panels very dark and at times inscrutable. There are several pages consisting of a single panel taking all space, but the picture doesn't seem to merit so much room: it's usually made of broad strokes, and it's difficult to find interesting details in it.

The story itself is merely a random collection of anecdotes, of varying interest. There are the typical awkward moments, culture clashes and feelings of alienation that everyone who has lived in Asia can relate to. There are small observations and musings (of little interest to me). There are short digressions that have little to do with Shenzhen or with China (about the animation industry, memories of the author of other times and places, Canadian idiosyncrasies).

I didn't realise this is almost twenty years old. Delisle lived in Shenzhen between the end of 1997 and the beginning of 1998. I actually wanted to start reading Pyongyang (that's how I got to know about this author a few years ago). Perhaps that one's better…

At least the book communicates an accurate feeling of the atmosphere in Shenzhen, 1998. It has probably changed significantly in these last twenty years, given the crazy pace of urbanisation and growth. But I can imagine what Delisle felt, and he does a good job at conveying his feelings of boredom, delight, boredom, disgust, boredom, awe, and boredom. ( )
  tripu.info | Jan 5, 2021 |
Shenzhen: A Travelogue From China. This [comic] book by Quebecois animator Guy Delisle follows the months-long sojourn of an artist supervising his outsourced animation studio in Shenzhen, China, towards the end of the 1990s. To my surprise I found it a very poignant and personal tale. It is, unreservedly, a first-person account. Delisle doesn’t speak Chinese, and confesses to a strong sense of alienation and loneliness during his stay in China. There’s a brutal, un-romanticized honesty in his explicitly, an admission that there exists a cultural divide he himself simply cannot bridge.

There’s honestly not much of a plot to Shenzhen. Delisle is tasked with supervising the animation of a TV series, and the book is told mostly as a series of anecdotes and observations, without much of a narrative to thread them together. There are a few recurring “characters”, though none of whom Delisle is able to get to know in any depth. It’s filled with the usual “outsider looking in” moments - what’s the food like, the pedestrians, how is laundry done and tea made. Delisle is not really a tourist, so there’s the intimacy of a resident as opposed to a vacation photo album, but he readily admits that there’s so much happening that he simply doesn’t really understand. When Delisle travels to Hong Kong, with its more Western-style society, you can practically feel the relief radiating out of him as he experiences a familiar way of life again.

The art is simple if functional (though drifting frequently into caricature), loosely in the Franco-Belgian comic style and punctuated with some more thorough manga-style illustrations. It’s also spattered with some interesting tidbits about how the animation process works, which I have a weakness for.

I’m not really sure who this is for - if you want to learn about China, or animation, there are surely better resources - but for a memoir you could do much worse.
( )
  pvoberstein | Dec 14, 2020 |
Another excellent graphic novel/travelogue from Guy Delisle. Very good at capturing the cultural differences when working in foreign countries, and making the mundanities of everyday life interesting. ( )
  arewenotben | Jul 31, 2020 |
nice drawings, well told, okayish observations ( )
  reg_lt | Feb 7, 2020 |
Me encantan estas crónicas de Guy Delisle. Ideales para ir leyendo en pequeñas dosis, pero es inevitable leer del tirón. ( )
  Carla_Plumed | Dec 3, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
Delisle’s European drawing style applies a humorous veneer to what might otherwise be a rather grim tale. But it’s so clearly hand-drawn — the lines of the buildings, for example, aren’t quite straight — that it takes on a cartoony feel, providing the reader some distance.
 

» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Guy Delisleprimary authorall editionscalculated
Dascher, HelgeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Shenzhen, December 1997...I'm back in China, in the South this time.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Shenzhenis entertainingly compact with Guy Delisle's observations of life in urban southern China, sealed off from the rest of the country by electric fences and armed guards. With a dry wit and a clean line, Delisle makes the most of his time spent in Asia overseeing outsourced production for a French animation company. He brings to life the quick pace of Shenzhen's crowded streets. By translating his fish-out-of-water experiences into accessible graphic novels, Delisle skillfully notes the differences between Western and Eastern cultures, while also conveying his compassion for the simple freedoms that escape his colleagues in the Communist state.

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