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Review of Escaping Wars and Waves – Encounters with Syrian Refugees by Oliver Kugler

By July 16, 2019December 15th, 2023No Comments


Based on many interviews, and hundreds of reference photos, Kugler’s beautifully observed drawings of his interviewees bring to life their location — a room, a camp, on the road: the stretch of tents on Kos, opposite the stalls selling trinkets to tourists. His reporting of their stories is peppered with snatches of conversation and images of the objects that have become such a significant part of their lives: a toilet roll, the rolling tobacco pouch, the mobile phone. Through Kugler’s complicated, intense graphic reportage, we empathise with those whose experiences he records.


  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Hardcover
  • Published July 5th 2018 by Myriad Editions
  • ISBN139781912408122
  • Other Editions – None found

My Thoughts

This graphic novel is beautifully illustrated. There is not any story as they are vignettes from different refugees lives. Each vignette is completely different. Rather than telling a cohesive story, this graphic novel reads much like someone’s art diary. It is a collection of sketches punctuated by notations that help illustrate the individual’s stories. The coloring is done sparingly and to good effect. It accents major events and important visuals while allowing other things to fade into the background. I recommend this if you are into history and peoples personal stories. I think if you are you will find this enlightening and well done.


I checked this out from the library.

About The Author

Olivier Kugler is a reportage illustrator based in London and has won many awards, including a Victoria & Albert Museum Illustration Award in 2011 and a World Illustration Award in 2015. His reportage drawings have appeared in The Guardian , Harper’s , Le Monde diplomatique , Port , XXI , and other publications.

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