April 15, 2024

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Norwegian on the Way of St. James in our graphic novel review – Tower

Norwegian on the Way of St. James in our graphic novel review – Tower

The Ways of St. James are pilgrimage routes in Europe, all with their destination at the alleged tomb of the Apostle James in Santiago de Compostela in Spain. When I hear the term Camino de Santiago, I automatically think of one of the best artists and comedians of the last 40 years. Before Hippie Kirkling's book, I had not dealt with the subject and was also unaware of the existence of these pilgrimage routes. Today I like to hike by myself, even if it's in the immediate vicinity of my hometown and not for a longer period of time. So I cannot judge from my own experience what it is like to do the Way of St. James – this refers to the famous section from the Pyrenees in northern Spain to Santiago de Compostela – myself. I devoured Kirkling's book at the time, which is why I became aware of it when a graphic novel on the subject of The Way of St James was announced. This time no Germans will be going on the trip, but Norwegian painter and author Jason (“Hemingway,” “I Killed Adolf Hitler”) set out to experience the Christian-influenced route on his 50th birthday. His experiments are now also available in written form in German.


Strong shoes must be worn during Hajj.

© Reproduction

At first, the reader should not be surprised that all the characters are depicted as skinny dogs in human form. Dark skinned, large and small ears, long and short hair, female as male; If Jason didn't always have his characters say their names, I wouldn't be able to tell them all apart. But it is also because John Arne Satiriwe (Jason), who introduces himself as the main character here, is working on writing his autobiography because, as mentioned above, he made the Hajj himself. The journey is supposed to last 32 days and a lot can be revealed: the protagonist will reach his goal. So the question is not whether this subjective experience affects the wanderer, but how. First off, I have to say that this is where Jason failed as an author and gave me little to nothing to take with me after I finished reading.

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The path is the goal, and I have to make that very clear here. I'll move on to my review of the graphic novel and decide to do this in a similar way. The journey is the destination, also included in this review. It's all chatter over the course of 180 pages of Pilgrimage, we find out what breakfast was, when Jason started hiking, what inn he took, and at what table he sat. At first he was reluctant to contact other pilgrims and covered the first stages alone. Every now and then he meets other pilgrims, some of whom he remembers, but does not really relate to. He identifies the main points of the route with one or two special anecdotes, and highlights what he experienced and thought at this or that point. Often, these key points are not linked to other pilgrims, but to sites on the route.

Only late in the book does Jason's perspective open up a bit, when he tells the other pilgrims about his origins and his vocation as a painter. Then he briefly drops the fourth wall as the book shows him taking notes and sketches for a potential new book about his journey, which is finally in our hands with A Norwegian on the Way of St. James.

I'm not sure if I should interpret Jason's experiences with other pilgrims and the fact that they greet each other on the journey in superficial terms and ask where they come from and where they are going as a criticism of our society. Perhaps it was merely the basis of his approach and shy personality traits that made him follow the Way of St. James superficially at that time.

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We as readers learn too little about Jason as a person to be able to make a judgement. Unlike hippie Kirkling, for example, where many people already had a photo of him from television or his other public appearances and were then able to compare it to descriptions of him in the book, here I completely miss the connection to Jason as a person. Aside from superficial information, I hardly get any clues about the how and why of the Hajj, which is why the comparison with someone I know is completely omitted. – There is a shrug of the shoulders after finishing reading.

Visually, I can definitely appreciate Jason's simple, comic-like style; Often a page is presented divided into 4 panels, rarely with a drawing extending over the entire page. Everything is presented in black and white, with minimal bitmap graphics, and presented in a calm manner. As I suggested above, it is gossip and represents an autobiographical diary of the Hajj.

If you want to get a first impression of the illustrations, you can here Give an impression of him.

Norwegian on St James's Road Published by Reproduct.

  • ISBN: 978-3-95640-404-7
  • 192 pages
  • Black and white
  • 14.8 x 21 cm
  • Flap booklet
  • 20 euros



Order Norwegian on St. James's Way now from Amazon.de





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Order Norwegian on St James's Way now on Buecher.de





Our e-magazine ntower is a member of the affiliate networks Amazon PartnerNet, AWIN, Webgains, Rakuten Advertising, Media Markt E-Business GmbH and Saturn online GmbH. When you order through one of our affiliate links, we receive a variable commission from the relevant store operator. There are no additional costs for end customers.