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The Fixer: A Story from Sarajevo

3.87  ·  Rating Details ·  2,039 Ratings  ·  116 Reviews
When bombs are falling and western journalism is the only game left in town "fixers" are the people who sell war correspondents the human tragedy and moral outrage that makes news editors happy.

It's dangerous, a little amoral and a lot desperate.

Award-winning comix-journalist Joe Sacco goes behind the scene of war correspondence to reveal the anatomy of the big scoop. He b
Hardcover, 140 pages
Published December 1st 2003 by Drawn and Quarterly (first published 2003)
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Pramod Nair
“In Sarajevo the pieces are back in place too. Never mind there’s no work or money…”
the shops are open… the trams are running… the café’s are housing the idle & spewing a relentless Eurobeat…
And with every few steps one relentless Eurobeat drowns out another, but all the relentless Eurobeats cannot drown out the silence, which is the most relentless thing of all…

When Joe Sacco - the journalist & cartoonist who is regarded as the creator of the ‘War Correspondence Comics’ genre – visited
Nov 11, 2011 Jeff rated it liked it
The Fixer is another great entry in Joe Sacco's series of comics reportage from the Balkan wars of the 1990s. Although it is clearly not a major work on the level of Safe Area Gorazde, the present volume is nonetheless an important addendum to the larger narrative that Sacco brought home from his trips to the former Yugoslavia. [return][return]This time around, the author focuses on his own frustrations in gathering information in post-combat Sarajevo, and his desparate reliance on the unreliabl ...more
Jan 06, 2008 Christopher rated it it was amazing
This is the story of Nevin, a former soldier who fought for one of the warlords active in Sarajevo in the 90's. The story bounces back between Nevin's war years, and what his life is like after the war. Killing, boozing, shooting pool and dying are pretty much par for the course. This story is much more personal than Sacco's work in "Palestine" but still manages to convey much of the social and political situation of the times.
Jun 20, 2016 Dan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics, nonfiction
An excellent expose of the Bosnian War told from the perspective of one of its most conflicted participants.
Apr 15, 2015 Kyle rated it really liked it
Joe Sacco is an enigma. He is unarguably a journalist, and a great one at that. Traveling to war zones and areas of turmoil to interview people and let them unspool their stories at a slow and even pace. But Sacco doesn't record them with a video camera or even photos he makes photo realistic pictures with just a twinge of Art Spiegelman's Raw in them, creating a sort of twisted reality that fits the usually horrific content of these people's stories.

And Fixer focuses only on a very small group
Mar 23, 2007 Aaron rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Comic journalism fans
A fixer, in the parlance of the international press, is a local who "fixes" visiting journos with access. He provides them with translation and access - sometimes directly to the front lines of battle. In this case, however, what he fixes Joe Sacco with is his own sad story, and story of the shattered lives of some other figures in the Balkan war. As is customary, he weaves multiple stories into the major story line of the book, but in this case he jumps back and forth continuously, making it to ...more
Kase! Wickman
Dec 09, 2008 Kase! Wickman rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Claire Fox
Realistically drawn and truthfully told. I didn't think there could be a journalistic graphic novel until I read this, but the reporting is way better than some of the shit I've read in the Globe.
Feb 02, 2009 Sarah rated it really liked it
Wow the drawings in this book are amazing. So many tiny tiny lines.
More of a character study than a war investigation. Sacco almost relaxes into this microcosm as relief from the bigger picture he was faced with portraying in Safe Area Gorazde. Also, it further punctures, as so much of Sacco's work does, the idea of journalistic objectivity, and the story itself becomes about the people who bring you 'the story'. On one hand there's Joe, who looks like a bumbling and naive American reporter, and on the other hand there's Neven, a Bosnian ex-soldier who helps re ...more
Mar 04, 2017 Michael rated it really liked it
Sacco is always strong. Not quite as powerful as Safe Area Gorazde, but a worthy follow-up. The art is stellar, and the writing compelling.
Oliver Hodson
Feb 21, 2017 Oliver Hodson rated it really liked it
I recently read Sacco's 'Safe Area Goradze' and although it did carry through with certain characters, it was more driven by events. This tale is more centred on Neven, the Fixer, who guides Joe through Sarajevo, and you get a pretty amazing relationship developing and a meditation on truth. I thought it was pretty nice that as Sacco most doubts Neven, and as Neven doubts himself, the actuality and truth of his involvement in Celo's team in the war are revealed on more solid foundations. It stil ...more
During his coverage of the Bosnian genocide and the Balkan conflict, Sacco worked with a rather shady character known as a “fixer” – someone who can assist foreign journalists with gaining access to the frontlines of the conflict, the warlords and gangs running the countryside as the nation is torn apart, and victims to provide stories to color the news articles being written about the region.

Sacco’s “fixer”, known as Neveen, was a former solider involved in the conflict if not the genocide its
Jan 01, 2017 Aziff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Fixer was recommended to me years ago by my editor and almost three years later, I've discovered this journalistic gem that makes me chill at both J. Sacco's narrative and visual storytelling. His story's conduit is Neven, a former army veteran-turned fixer, who "fixes" access for foreign journalists looking for a stories to write and report in the 90s war-torn Bosnia.

If you're a journalist, chances are, you've bumped into characters like Neven at least once. The source (and fixer) who's fas
Nicholas Whyte[return][return]This is, in a sense, a sequel to Sacco's brilliant Safe Area Gorazde, but following just one person, Neven, a Sarajevo Serb, a former fighter on the Bosnian side in the war who Sacco got to know as his "fixer" when he first visited Sarajevo just after the war ended in 1995. (I first went there myself in early 1997, and the city of Sacco's book is definitely the one I knew.)[return][return]Anyone who has worked in that sort of environment kno ...more
Mar 29, 2014 Nick rated it really liked it
This is Joe Sacco's fascinating look at the Yugoslavian conflict, the warlords who dominated Sarajevo, and the man from the title; Neven -- The Fixer. Half the book is Sacco looking for or hanging out with Neven, who misses no opportunity to drain Sacco's wallet, and the other half is Neven's stories of Sarajevo and Sacco's subsequent thoughts and research. Sacco's portrayal of Neven results in one of the most memorable characters I've read of in some time. Subtle, mysterious, broke and out of s ...more
I adore Joe Sacco's work. I still think about Safe Area Gorazde; it affected me so deeply. In this work, Sacco describes Neven, a "fixer," a man paid by foreign journalists for his translations and his memories. As a result, one is never sure how much of what Neven says is true, and how much is embellished for the sake of a few extra marks.

As usual, I enjoyed Sacco's art very much. Some of his frames are hard to look at closely, dealing as they do with some very gruesome subject matter. But I th
Jun 12, 2014 Damir rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: People Interested in the Balkan War
Highly anticipated book when I first heard about this graphic novel. I had already read one of Joe Sacco's other graphic novels, "Safe Area Gorzade," and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Therefore, logically speaking, another book on the topic (Bosnia and the Balkan's War) by the same author, in the same style, I should enjoy it just as much, Right? Right?...

Well... Not exactly...

I will say I enjoyed the book, but just barely. The stories, characters, and mystery of the fixer did enough to keep me readi
The Fixer is a unique look at an odd bit of history. It weaves in general history of the Bosnian war in the early and mid-90s. But the conflict itself is not the main focus of the narrative. Who knew that you could make a seriously good living in a war-torn country by finding people with horrific stories to tell for the droves of journalists that flock to these types of conflicts? And although this profession is the title of the work, this still isn't really the focus. Instead, the story revolve ...more
Feb 09, 2015 Tomislav rated it really liked it
This is a graphic novel, except that it is hard-covered, large-sized, and more jounalism than novel. The story is framed by a journalist/author who travels to Sarajevo in 2001. He remembers his earlier connection with the shadowy Neven - a fixer, who arranged contacts for the journalist during the final year of the Bosnian War in 1995. Neven, in turn, recalls his own stories of being a Serbian Sarajevan in an irregular Bosnian militia, fighting the Četniks. It is a fascinating look into the warl ...more
I guess when you read the subtitle "A Story From Sarajevo" you should know that this not a pretty story. it's the story of Neven, whom the author meets in Sarajevo. Neven is a man who is willing to sell his war stories to the press and get them the "inside" story - he's a crass, chain smoking veteran of an incredibly complicated war. The way the story is told, I never completely believed anything Neven said - which probably exactly the point. Journalists are constantly having to decide whether w ...more
Rachel Dobric
Feb 10, 2017 Rachel Dobric rated it really liked it
A good (fast) read - not as much so as Sacco's Safe Area Goražde, but still really solid.

Sacco's artwork is great, and it's particularly impressive that he's done the art and the text - and that the whole thing is based on his own experiences.
Jan 19, 2011 Joe rated it liked it
Sacco once again takes us to some god-forsaken part of the world in order to find the human angle on yet another atrocity, this time to the Balkans and Sarajevo a few years after the end of the conflict there. Here we meet his 'Fixer', the most important man in any war journos life when he's out on assignment in places like this. The fixer is the guy who can set you up, get you in touch with the people you want to talk to, find you the angle you need on your story. But the war is over, and stori ...more
I decided to read this because I'm impatient for Joe Sacco's new book, Footnotes in Gaza. I wasn't expecting this to be amazing, but it was. I'm coming to the conclusion that pretty much anything Sacco writes and draws is amazing.

I'm old enough to remember the siege of Sarajevo, barely. Actually, I was living in Europe at the time and sort of obsessed with the conflict (hey, I was an intense, political kid...I'm sure that doesn't surprise anyone). Here and in Safe Area Gorazde, Sacco really comp
Jan 12, 2009 Yofish rated it liked it
Recommended to Yofish by: long WaPo article
Shelves: read-graphic
Eh. Wasn't so excited about the art. "The Fixer" is a Sarajevan who fought in the war and now makes his money from journalists who want to be shown around the city and the war. (The author/illustrator was, apparently, one such journalist.)

Some of it is about how the author is never quite sure how truthful all the stories are that the Fixer tells. But mostly it offers a particular vantage point of the war. Its history is a little hard to follow (for me, mostly because most of the names are compl
Jan 02, 2014 Libor rated it really liked it
The Fixer is a great story. It doesn't use all the usual stereotypes about the Balkans and it still quite catches the atmosphere after the war. After the war, when former soldiers had nothing else to do than try to survive in the new world, new situation. A world where maybe their stories about how well they did during the war weren't going to impress anyone anymore. Everyone is looking after themselves, nobody's paying attention to "great and glorious" deeds done just few months ago; except may ...more
Jul 14, 2012 Stephen rated it liked it
Another tale from the former Yugoslavia by Joe Sacco. I enjoyed this a lot - a good comic. The book focuses on Neven, a "fixer" for international visitors (mostly journalists) who need someone to show them the ropes of Sarajevo. Through Neven, it tells the story of Sarajevo in the Yugoslavian war - the sieges and the internal struggles. One thing it does really well is show the relationship between the unofficial paramilitary groups and the Bosnian government - naturally, it's a pretty ugly stor ...more
Feb 25, 2013 Aapo rated it really liked it
Shelves: sarjakuvat
Gorazde-kirjan jälkeen luettuna tässä albumissa tuntui olevan juuri ne hyvät ominaisuudet, jotka Gorazdesta puuttuivat. Albumi oli tarinallisempi muutenkin kuin vain sotahistoriamielessä, ja vaikka tekstiä oli tässäkin paljon, oli tämä kuitenkin relevanttia sarjakuvaa. Tämä oli myös uskottavampi siinä mielessä, että tässä oli myös muita pahiksia kuin serbit, eikä mikään ollut kovin mustavalkoista (paitsi se sarjakuva, heh). Sotaahan tämä käsittelee, mutta yhden mielenkiintoisen henkilön nostamin ...more
Aug 29, 2011 Jay rated it really liked it
Stack black and white drawings and a stark story from a man who lived through, even fought in, the siege of Sarajevo. I found the storyline a little jumpy (despite the inclusion of years in the drawings to tell us when we were jumping). I think the purpose of the changes in timeline was to show cause-and-effect between different times, but I didn't always get that... perhaps because I set the book aside at a lot of the time transitions.

I think this books does a great job of walking a line betwee
Jun 22, 2014 Jeff rated it really liked it
Powerful stuff!!! Sacco, one of the earliest and most important voices in the field of graphic journalism, dives deep into the fog of war to tell the story of Neven, a "fixer" who assists Western journalists navigate the complex and dangerous labyrinth of war-torn Yugoslavia in the 90's. What Sacco discovers is that Neven himself and his experiences during the seige of Sarajevo is a fascinating subject, and what emerges is a complex portrait of a person, part-con man, part-criminal, part-hero, w ...more
Masha Toit
Jun 15, 2011 Masha Toit rated it liked it
I was impressed by Joe Sacco's "Palestine", which is why I read this book.
It is also fascinating, although I found it to be a smaller book, somehow. Joe Sacco tells the story of Neven, a veteran of Sarajevo's civil war. Neven is a Serb who fought against the Serbian Nationalists, and now survives as a "fixer", an insider who connects journalists to the people and places they need for their stories. Neven is the ultimate unreliable narrator, and Sacco plays with this aspect, making you doubt him,
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Joe Sacco was born in Malta on October 2, 1960. At the age of one, he moved with his family to Australia, where he spent his childhood until 1972, when they moved to Los Angeles. He began his journalism career working on the Sunset High School newspaper in Beaverton, Oregon. While journalism was his primary focus, this was also the period of time in which he developed his penchant for humor and sa ...more
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