I Live Here is a paper documentary–an intimate journey to humanitarian crises in four corners of the world: war in Chechnya, ethnic cleansing in Burma, globalization in Mexico, and AIDS in Malawi.
I Live Here is a visually stunning narrative — told through journals, stories, images, and graphic novellas — in which the lives of refugees and displaced people become at once personal and global. Bearing witness to stories that are too often overlooked, it is a raw and intimate journey to crises in four corners of the world: war in Chechnya, ethnic cleansing in Burma, globalization in Mexico, and AIDS in Malawi.
The voices we encounter are those of displaced women and children, in their own words or in stories told in text and images by noted writers and artists. The stories unfold in an avalanche: An orphan goes to jail for stealing leftovers. A teenage girl falls in love in a city of disappeared women. A child soldier escapes his army only to be saved by the people he was taught to kill.
Mia Kirshner’s journals guide us through a unique paper documentary brought vividly to life in collaboration with J.B. MacKinnon, Paul Shoebridge, and Michael Simons, with featured works by Joe Sacco, Ann-Marie MacDonald, Phoebe Gloeckner, Chris Abani, Karen Connelly, Kamel Khelif, and many others.
~THE JOURNEYS ~
The border of the Russian republic of Ingushetia is not even fifty miles from Grozny, the capital city of Chechnya. Today, some 15,000 Chechen refugees live in Ingushetia. Mia Kirshner and Joe Sacco traveled here together, returning with first-person accounts, video, photographs, and other materials gathered in Nazran and Moscow. The chapter includes journals by Mia Kirshner, the story of a young refugee as told by J.B. MacKinnon, the story of a young piano virtuoso as told by Ann-Marie Macdonald, and a graphic novella of Chechen refugees by Joe Sacco.
Ethnic cleansing by the Burmese military has displaced an estimated 500,000 to 1 million people; over 100,000 live in refugee camps along the Thailand-Burma border. Burma is also believed to be home to more child soldiers than any other country in the world. Mia Kirshner and Michael Simons took separate trips to the region; this chapter is based on their interviews, photos, and video, as well as writing by sex workers and Karen refugees. It includes journals by Mia Kirshner, as well as work by Chris Abani, Karen Connelly, J.B. Mackinnon, and a graphic novella by Kamel Khélif.
Ciudad Juárez is a large industrial border city in Mexico across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas. Since 1993, young women, many of them employees of Juárez’s more than three hundred maquiladoras, or global trade zone factories, have been disappearing from the streets. Mia Kirshner and Phoebe Gloeckner made independent journeys to this region; this book is informed by the stories and images they brought home. It includes journals, a story of one of the victims by Lauren Kirshner, and a graphic novella by Phoebe Gloeckner.
Malawi is one of the world’s poorest countries, and has an AIDS rate close to twenty percent. The disease touches every aspect of daily life in the African nation, introducing immense chaos, particularly in the case of orphan children. Mia Kirshner and J.B. MacKinnon made the trip to Malawi and returned with interviews, photographs, writing, and artworks. This book includes journals, a children’s story by J.B. MacKinnon with art by Julie Morstad, and the stories and artwork of boys in a local prison. ... Read more
Customer Reviews (13)
Very eye-opening book. Made me want to get up and do something for all of the people that this book talks about. Mia Kirshner's writing style is different, but in a good way that is easy to read and is easy to relate to. Also all of the different types of writing (journals, comics, prose pieces) make this book fresh and interesting.
An Important Call to Awareness
The anthology I Live Here is spearheaded by actress and debut author Mia Kirshner (The L Word) and collects four short books focusing on displaced women and children around the world. A hardcover sleeve opens to reveal four individual paperbacks to pull out and digest one at a time. Each book opens with Kirshner's journals from her travels to each location and is followed by a series of related writings and illustrations.
The first book takes readers to Ingushetia, a refugee camp not far from Grozny, Chechnya, during the fighting that has continued since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. In this book, Kirshner and her cohorts prove to be talented and engaging writers, crafting such vivid imagery (in this collection and the three that follow) of extreme circumstances that it can be almost physically gut-wrenching in the way a Chuck Palahniuk novel has the power to turn readers' stomachs.
It can be overwrought at times, but that physical connection is designed to make readers truly empathize and pay attention to the dismal situations. The authors and artists pull no punches in their depictions of the darkest, dirtiest, and most horrible of things that are happening to their subjects, but it is all with the goal of affecting their readers.
Celebrated comics journalist Joe Sacco contributed a graphic novella, "Chechen War, Chechen Women," to the first book that may be the finest of the collection. Sacco offers an incredible amount of detail--culled from a personal trip to the refugee camp--in his recognizable black-and-white art style.
The second book focuses on Burma, or the Union of Myanmar, the infamous war zone of Southeast Asia that has seen refugees fleeing to bordering Thailand for roughly 50 years. This book, like most in the collection, forgoes a broad explanation of the situations (brief summaries can be found inside the hardcover sleeve) in favor of individual accounts designed to personalize the events. The artists tell a disturbing and deeply affecting tale of manual labor, home abortions, and the sex trade.
The final two books focus on Ciudad Juárez, a city facing El Paso, Texas, on the United-States-Mexico border, and Malawi, a dense African republic plagued by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The former tackles the stories of women who are disappearing from the factory-laden city and touches upon the drug-trafficking, rape, and murder that are reportedly prevalent in the area. The latter spotlights the overbearing feeling the AIDS scare can have on everyday life when one lives in a country where one out of five people has contracted HIV and coffin demand is so high the area is becoming deforested.
Any project of this magnitude is bound to have its problems, and I Live Here is no exception. Readers will inevitably gravitate toward certain authors and artists over others in the varied project, but the impact of this Amnesty International-supported venture is hard to deny. It is a celebration of art in its many forms, and an important call to awareness.
-- William Jones
Touching and poignant stories
This compilation of four smaller books presents the stories of refugees in four different countries in a poignant unique format of mixed media: photographs, comics, journaling and travel writing.
You'll be transported to Ingushetia (Russia)and the home of 15,000 refugees, to Burma with 100,000 people in refugee camps, to Juarzez, Mexico where women disappear from the streets, and to Malawi where over 20 percent of the population lives with AIDS. The numbers are staggering, but the stories are personal and individual.
Your view of the world will change from seeing just the sheer numbers to knowing the individuals that live the horrors and triumph simply by enduring.
I live here is an amazing book
Mia Kirshner and everyone that contributed to this book did a wonderful job. The book talks about displaced people from different parts of the world that you don't normally hear about. It's a sad, inspiring and moving book. Can't wait till the next one in the series comes out.
I Live Here - "Very Good Book"
I bought this book set as a Christmas gift for my Daughter.She read it and said that it is very good.Iplan to read it soon as well.
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