cover image Diaries of War: Two Visual Accounts from Ukraine and Russia

Diaries of War: Two Visual Accounts from Ukraine and Russia

Nora Krug. Ten Speed Graphic, $25.99 (128p) ISBN 978-1-984-86244-0

Side-by-side first-person narratives—one Ukrainian, one Russian—depict in heartbreaking detail the devastation of the war in Ukraine in this visceral work of graphic journalism from National Book Critics Circle Award winner Krug (Belonging). The narrative is structured as a dual week-by-week diary, both visually polished and emotionally raw. K is a Russian-born Ukrainian reporter who divides her time between the front lines and Copenhagen, where she sends her kids to live with her mother. D is a Russian artist who “fell in love with freedom” as a teenager during the collapse of the Soviet Union. He hates the war and what Russia has become. Throughout, Krug juxtaposes everyday images in revealing ways: kids in the background are still kids—D’s play Mario as K’s play Minecraft. But K and her circle fight for their lives (“My goal is to survive, to help other people survive this war and to preserve our common heritage”), whereas D’s immigration attempts are at first philosophically driven, then grow in urgency after the Russian government institutes a military draft: “I’m ready to go to prison if that’s the price I have to pay,” D says. Krug’s drawings favor close-ups: hands holding dirt with a small plant sprouting, half-faces singing (or boycotting) the Russian national anthem. This powerfully conveys the chaos that war wreaks on civilians. (Oct.)