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Paying the Land Reviews

Paying the Land by Joe Sacco

Paying the Land

Joe Sacco

Score pending

1 review

Imprint: Jonathan Cape Ltd
Publisher: Penguin Random House Children's UK
Publication date: 28 Jun 2016
ISBN: 9781910702581

Against a vast and gorgeous landscape that dwarfs all human scale, Paying the Land lends an ear to trappers and chiefs, activists and priests, telling a sweeping story about money and dependency, loss and culture, with stunning visual detail by one of the greatest comics reporters alive.

4 stars out of 5
Aida Edemariam
2 Jul 2020

"a powerful piece of work"

Paying the Land is still a powerful piece of work, however, and in this time of pandemic and race protests Sacco’s concern with the decimation caused by injustice and internalised ideas of inferiority; with how the system is “built for capitalism to succeed, not humans”, resonates even more than it already would have. And over it all, of course, is the issue of our relationship to nature. When you take something from the land, when you kill a moose, or fell a tree, an elderly Dene tells Sacco, you “pray … and you give it something … a bullet, perhaps, water, tobacco, tea”. What is the worldview, Sacco asks, after he is proudly shown the ingenious ways in which oil companies corral the byproducts of fracking, “of a people who mumble no thanks or prayers, who take what they want from the land, and pay it back in arsenic?”

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