cover image The Dead Eye And The Deep Blue Sea: A Graphic Memoir Of Modern Slavery

The Dead Eye And The Deep Blue Sea: A Graphic Memoir Of Modern Slavery

Vannak Anan Prum, as told to Ben and Jocelyn Pederick. Seven Stories, $24.95 (256p) ISBN 978-1-60980-602-6

This firsthand account of modern slavery, told in powerful, detailed full-color drawings that feel as if they’ve been inscribed in blood, opens a window on a world rarely acknowledged. Cambodian artist Prum begins with his childhood and time studying in a monastery, then shares how he left his village and his pregnant wife in search of work, only to end up being captured and sold into slavery twice, first to a fishing boat, then a landowner. For five years, he was held captive along with others who had been deceived and trafficked from Cambodia and other countries. But his artistic talent, first noticed and encouraged by a Vietnamese soldier when Prum was a boy, proved to be an essential means of survival: Prum draws for food, for safety, and his own sanity. Drawings become his only way to explain his story to loved ones, upon his return home. This graphic memoir tells the urgent truth that slavery persists in contemporary times and asks readers to question their unknowing participation as consumers in the global trade systems that sustain it. Prum displays a great generosity of spirit in putting his pain to the page; as he says, he now “has a wound that will never heal.” The seas teem with men like Prum; this book makes them visible, through his unique story. (May)