Synopses & Reviews
From the internationally acclaimed author of Blankets
("A triumph for the genre." —Library Journal
), a highly anticipated new graphic novel.
Sprawling across an epic landscape of deserts, harems, and modern industrial clutter, Habibi tells the tale of Dodola and Zam, refugee child slaves bound to each other by chance, by circumstance, and by the love that grows between them. We follow them as their lives unfold together and apart; as they struggle to make a place for themselves in a world (not unlike our own) fueled by fear, lust, and greed; and as they discover the extraordinary depth — and frailty — of their connection.
At once contemporary and timeless, Habibi gives us a love story of astounding resonance: a parable about our relationship to the natural world, the cultural divide between the first and third worlds, the common heritage of Christianity and Islam, and, most potently, the magic of storytelling.
"Thompson's (Blankets) first graphic novel in seven years is a lushly epic love story that's both inspiring and heartbreaking, intertwined with parables from both Islam and Christianity. Sold into marriage as a young girl, Dodola endures life as the wife of a scribe until she's captured by slave traders and brought to Wanatolia to be auctioned off. But before she can be sold again, she escapes, taking with her an abandoned toddler named Habibi. The pair runaway to the desert, taking refuge in an abandoned boat, where they survive for nine years, with Dodola teaching Zam the ways of the world through stories from the Qur'an and the Bible. When Zam is 12, he secretly follows Dodola and realizes that she has been prostituting herself to passing caravans in order to acquire food. They are separated when Dodola is taken against her will to become part of a sultan's harem, leaving Zam alone in the desert. Six long years pass as the two struggle to find their way back to each other and, overcoming enormous odds, eventually end up far from the ancient desert landscape in a contemporary metropolis that underscores Thompson's subtle ability to blend the timeless and the current. In addition to richly detailed story panels, the gorgeous Arabic ornamental calligraphy makes each page an individual work of art. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"A dense, swirling dervish of a tale…this will be the most talked about graphic novel of the fall." Publisher Weekly
"The character depth, plot complexity, and storytelling in this lyrical, sexual, and scholarly epic would make any novelist proud...Thompson strings compositions that are often more tapestry than comics and that balance graphic design, illumination, calligraphy, and cartooning in steady alignment. It is unfair to expect two masterpieces in a row from anyone, but here Thompson sits securely in that rarefied air." Booklist (Starred Review)
"Habibi lifts the bar of graphic storytelling to new heights, both by the intricate, dramatic density and breathtaking scholarship of Thompson’s panels and by the sheer scale and decorative beauty of his flowing, roiling, protean style. Thompson is the Charles Dickens of the genre, able to capture all the scary, heartbreaking, brave, uplifting details of his characters’ fates while orchestrating the big-picture machinations that connect them to the lives and times of his readers...Habibi is a masterpiece that surely is one of a kind." Elle Magazine
"A graphic novel that is sure to attract attention...A mature—in all its meanings—glimpse into a world few Westerners are at home with, and Thompson is respectful throughout." Kirkus
"Exquisite...Habibi is a remarkable feat of research, care, and black ink, and a reminder that all 'People of the book,' despite the division of their individual traditions, share a mosaic of stories." Harper's Magazine
"Habibi has classic written all over it. It’s a modern literary triumph, a book so broad and magical in its scope, only a master could pull it off. This is no ordinary comic, it is a complete work of art. Beautiful, thought provoking, both timeless and of its time...An awe-inspiring read you can’t afford to miss." Grovel
"Easily the best graphic novel of the year, and probably the decade...Thompson’s line work here is beyond brilliant, combining myriad styles and capturing the rich historical legacy of the cultural and religious volumes that inspired it. This is a work that truly changes the game and sets a new standard for all the graphic novels that follow it." GraphicNovelReporter.com
"Craig Thompson's new graphic novel, Habibi, is a masterpiece. This isn't an opinion. This book is a gorgeous object; to make it, Thompson apparently covered himself in honey and rolled around in a thousand years of Arabic calligraphy and Islamic art, and the result is breathtaking." The Boston Phoenix
"Erotic, grotesque, and profoundly moving...I don’t think I’ve ever read a book quite like this, and I expect I’ll be thinking about it for a long, long time." Boing Boing
About the Author
Craig Thompson's previous graphic novels include Blankets (for which he received three Harvey Awards for Best Artist, Best Graphic Album of Original Work, and Best Cartoonist; and two Eisner Awards for Best Graphic Album and Best Writer/Artist); Goodbye, Chunky Rice; and Carnet de Voyage. He lives in Portland, Oregon.