Review: ‘Habibi’ by Craig Thompson

I bought ‘Habibi’ for The Boy Wonder after someone declared it “the best book of 2011” on BBC’s The Review Show.

In this comic book / graphic novel, I found the most extraordinary story. Based on a Middle-Eastern fairytale, ‘Habibi’ tells the story of Dodola, a girl who escapes slavery and finds an abandoned baby who she names Zam. This ambitious story charts the evolution of Dodola and Zam’s relationship from parent and child to siblings to something else altogether.

This beautifully illustrated story combines a story of love with religious stories, illustrating the connections between Islam, Judaism and Christianity. The illustrations are in black and white but they provoke such colourful mental images that when I think of the story now, I see it in Technicolor.

The story and the drawings are detailed, dramatic and moving. The tale itself is like nothing I’ve ever read before. It has an environmental conscience, noting the damage being done to the landscape and the unfair distribution of wealth. It may be a parable but it’s very realistic.

I urge you to read Craig Thompson’s epic masterpiece.

Vic x


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