Exit Wounds by Rutu Modan

Title:  Exit Wounds
Author:  Rutu Modan
Release date:  June 12, 2007
Publisher:  Drawn and Quarterly
Pages:  168
Genre:  Graphic novel
Source:  Library

Exit Wounds brings Israel to life as it follows Koby Fanco, a young taxi driver, as he searches for his missing father.  He meets a woman named Noni, a young soldier who was romantically involved with his father, and who tells him that his father was the victim of a suicide bomb attack.  Together the two of them travel around Tel Aviv, hunting for clues to his father’s whereabouts and trying to solve the mystery of his death, all the while hoping he is still alive.

On the surface, Exit Wounds may seem like a simple graphic novel, but it has a lot going on and is about more than just unraveling a mystery of one man’s whereabouts.  First of all, it is set in Tel Aviv, and really brings the culture of Israel to life.  One thing I love about graphic novels is the fact that the pictures tell as much as the story, if not more than the story, as the words do.  Exit Wounds was no exception – the illustrations brought the city to life, and really caused me to dive right into the book, and get involved with these characters in the city they call home.

The other main aspect to Exit Wounds besides the setting is the relationships in the novel.  The biggest one being, of course, Koby and his father’s.  Theirs has always been a difficult and complicated father/son dynamic, with Koby harboring years anger and resentment toward his father.  Yet when he really starts to look for him, he realizes that his father might not be exactly the person he’s pictured him to be, and that he does still love him and wants him to be alive so they can rebuild their relationship.  The other important relationship in the book is that of Koby and Noni.  They are strangers when they meet, yet they form a quick (if a bit reluctant) bond over Koby’s father.  The scene where Noni revealed she was involved with his dad was super awkward, but so realistic – it conveyed exactly how it might feel to be meeting, for the first time, your father’s secret lover.  Their relationship, to me, was portrayed so honestly and was one of the best things about the book.

If you are a fan of graphic novels, Exit Wounds is a must-read.  When I finished it, I kept thinking about how it is so much more than what it appears to be on the surface, and because of that I absolutely recommend it for anyone.  The relationships in this novel are complex and interesting, and the backdrop of Tel Aviv, Israel, adds a lot to the story.  I’m so glad I’ve gotten into reading more graphic novels or I would have missed this gem of a book!

7 thoughts on “Exit Wounds by Rutu Modan”

  1. How odd – I’ve seen this book a zillion times in the graphic novel section of the bookshop, and I always thought it was one of those dysfunctional family stories, for some reason. Now that I hear its real plot, it sounds wonderful!

    1. Yeah, I’m not sure what inspired me to pick it up, but I honestly wasn’t expecting much. It was so much more than I thought it would be!

  2. I’m not yet sure if I would call myself a fan of graphic novels, but this looks interesting. I really should give graphic novels a try (apart from Persepolis). Thank you for pointing this one out, it looks like one I’d enjoy.

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