Delisle and his family spent a year in East Jerusalem as part of his wife’s work with the nongovernmental organization Doctors Without Borders. They were there for the short but brutal Gaza War, a three-week-long military strike that resulted in more than a thousand Palestinian deaths. In his interactions with the emergency medical team sent in by Doctors Without Borders, Delisle eloquently plumbs the depths of the conflict.
Some of the most moving moments in Jerusalem are the interactions between Delisle and Palestinian art students as they explain the motivations for their work. Interspersed with these simply told, affecting stories of suffering, Delisle deftly and often drolly recounts the quotidian: crossing checkpoints, going kosher for Passover, and befriending other stay-at-home dads with NGO-employed wives.
Jerusalem evinces Delisle’s renewed fascination with architecture and landscape as political and apolitical, with studies of highways, villages, and olive groves recurring alongside depictions of the newly erected West Bank Barrier and illegal Israeli settlements. His drawn line is both sensitive and fair, assuming nothing and drawing everything. Jerusalem showcases once more Delisle’s mastery of the travelogue.
"[Delisle’s books are] some of the most effective and fully realized travel writing out there." -NPR