Discordia – Laurie Penny and Molly Crabapple

In all honesty, I started Discordia without having the faintest idea of what it was about. I read it because Laurie Penny tweeted that she was offering a free PDF of the book in exchange for a review. I like free things. I like PDFs. I like books. I like reviewing things (well, judging things. Same diff?). I figured I’d go for it.

I’m glad I did.

The full title is “Discordia: Six Nights in Crisis Athens”. Last summer, journalist Laurie Penny and illustrator Molly Crabapple took to the streets of Athens in order to document the experiences of those living there. The result is powerful, to say the least.

I power-read it this evening; partly because I felt a little obligated to, partly because it was fascinating. The writing style is easy to read and the subject matter is of huge importance. The illustrations paint a far more detailed picture than I’d expected them to, and below/around each one is a quotation translated straight from the graffitied walls of the city.

My one (mild) criticism is that at certain points the narrative seems to jump back and forwards a little. I wouldn’t make an issue of this, however, as the coherence of the book doesn’t suffer.

I’m not a whizz with this politics stuff, and so I don’t feel massively qualified to comment on any kind of wider context, but I’m pretty sure I got the gist. I actually learned quite a bit, which would have been enjoyable if what I was learning wasn’t so depressing.

The book can be bought here, and if you have even the remotest interest in the subject matter I would recommend it wholeheartedly. I’m not going to come out with some schmaltzy line about how I enjoyed it so much I’m going to buy it even though I don’t have to, but if I didn’t not have to and I knew how good it was I would buy it. If that makes sense.

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