Arnon Grunberg and Hanco Kolk
From Istanbul to Baghdad
In 2010 author Arnon Grunberg travelled by car through the Middle East and wrote a series of articles for NRC. On the basis of these reports, photographs and Grunberg’s blog pieces, Kolk created the graphic novel Van Istanbul naar Bagdad, a road movie in pen and paper.
The colouring is extremely functional and the layout is occasionally symbolic: some drawings are framed with barbed wire. As a narrative thread within this fragmentary material, Kolk concentrates on the difficult relationship between the writer and his interpreter, but he also does something that is possible only in fiction: he brings back to life a girl who died in the poison gas attack on the Iraqi city of Halabja in 1988 as an imaginary interlocutor for Grunberg: “I can create a small monument for her.” This is a book that narrows the gap between comics and literature.