By Craig Thompson
Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Pantheon Books, 2011
Genres: General fiction, mythic fiction
Format: Graphic novel
Number of pages: 665 (672 includes notes and author description)
Setting: A Middle-eastern desert, an unnamed village, and Wanatolia
Time period: No set time period –seems like the past, present, and future all at once
Plot summary: Dodola adopts Zam when he is three years old and she is thirteen. Although she is young, she has already been married, witnessed the slaying of her husband, and been kidnapped to be sold into slavery. She manages to escape from the slavers with Zam and takes him into the desert to raise him. When Zam turns thirteen, their world is shattered when they become lost to one another. After years of separation, their love for one another eventually brings them back together.
Illustrations: Intricate black and white drawings
Pacing: Very fast paced.
Characterization: The story is told in both first and third person perspectives. The primary perspective is from Dodola, although readers are also given Zam’s perspective. Stories from both the Qur’an and Bible are interwoven with the larger story.
Language: Habibi is written in English, but incorporates Arabic letters to tells stories within stories.
Frame: The title sets the frame – habibi means beloved. Love frames the story.
Story line: A fairy tale set in both ancient and contemporary Arab worlds that examines issues of social injustice, environmental degradation, and some commonalities between Christian and Islamic cultures.
Slaves — Comic books, strips, etc.
Refugees — Comic books, strips, etc.
Interpersonal relations — Comic books, strips, etc.
Comic books, strips, etc. — United States.
Similar works: I haven’t found any graphic novels which could really be called similar.
Personal notes: Wow! This book is a masterpiece. The art and story are both utterly amazing . I can truly say that I’ve never read anything like this. I’ve read other beautiful stories about love and healing, but not one that is graphically depicted in the style which Thompson uses, while also educating me about aspects of Islamic history and culture. Wow.
Other: Diversity – orphans, refugees, slaves, child wives, eunuchs, Arabs, Blacks, sultan, poor villagers