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Habibi
2011
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Fiction/Biography Profile
Characters
Dodola (Female), Slave, Refugee, Love grows between her and Zam;
Zam (Male), Slave, Refugee, Link together by chance; falls for Dodola;
Genre
Fiction
Mythology
Graphic novel
Topics
Slavery
Fear
Lust
Life changes
Greed
Religion
Christianity
Islam
Setting
- Middle East
Large Cover Image
Trade Reviews

  Library Journal Review

Swirling story and swirling Arabic calligraphy interweave in Thompson's masterly follow-up to his multi-award-winning Blankets (2003). Child bride Dolola is sold by her impoverished parents in the Middle East to a clumsy but well-meaning older man who teaches her to read and write. When slavers kill her husband and kidnap her, she manages to escape carrying the dark-skinned baby of another captive. She finds refuge in an abandoned ship stranded in the desert, where she raises little Zam to adolescence, telling him stories and teaching him literacy. Further adventures separate them but reunite them later. As escaped harem prostitute and escaped eunuch, they forge an intimate bond and move into the future. ("Habibi" means "my beloved.") Hopping back and forth in time through an epic landscape encompassing desert, harem, urban slums, and modern industrial clutter, the plot draws on and includes stories stemming from Islam, Judaism, and Christianity that evoke universal themes. Verdict The exquisite beauty and deep magic of this Arabian Nights-style love story cannot be overstated. More mature and psychologically nuanced than Blankets, it's a sure bet for as many awards. With extensive nudity and sexual themes, it is highly recommended for adult collections.-Martha Cornog, Philadelphia (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Publishers Weekly Review

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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Summary
From the internationally acclaimed author of Blankets ("A triumph for the genre." -- Library Journal ), a highly anticipated new graphic novel. <br> nbsp; <br> Sprawling across an epic landscape of deserts,nbsp;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.<br> nbsp;<br> 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.
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