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Habibi Hardcover – 22 Sep 2011

49 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (22 Sept. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571241328
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571241323
  • Product Dimensions: 18.6 x 4.6 x 23.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 61,343 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'Habibi is a wonderful, compelling tale, but also ... an indescribable one. For, hidden inside it are a thousand other stories ... you will want to raid it again and again.' --Rachel Cooke, Observer Graphic Novel of the Month

'Just about every page of Habibi feels like a universe unto itself - sparklingly dark, mysterious and complex. Thompson's work beautifully illuminates the ways in which all of our stories (and so, fates) are tangled at the root.' --Rolling Stone

'Extraordinary ... With Habibi , Craig Thompson has created an epic love story, an adventure tale, and a lapsed Christian's hymn to the beauty of Islamic art.' --Peter Murphy, Irish Times

'A landmark ... Who would have thought that black ink could make such complex, soul-filling music?' --Neel Mukherjee, Financial Times

'Destined to become an instant classic, confirming the author's position among not only the most masterful of graphic novelists but our finest contemporary writers, regardless of medium.'
--Inbali Iserles, Independent on Sunday

Book Description

Habibi is a complex, beautiful and powerful follow-up to Craig Thompson's internationally acclaimed and award-winning Blankets.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

63 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Sam Quixote TOP 500 REVIEWER on 15 Oct. 2011
Format: Hardcover
Set in a fictional country in what seems to be the Middle East, a 6 year old girl called Dodola is sold by her poverty-stricken parents to a calligrapher to be his wife. The man is brutally murdered and the girl is stolen and sold into slavery. She saves an infant boy from certain death by claiming him as her own and then later escaping with him to live on an abandoned ship in the middle of the desert. She names him Habibi. The two of them manage to survive for a few years by Dodola prostituting herself to merchants travelling across the desert in exchange for food. Then one day she is stolen once again and taken to join the harem of the Sultan. Habibi does his best to survive but must take himself to the city in order to survive and from there the story begins, the two of them striving to meet one another again.

To say that the book is beautiful is an understatement and an insult to Craig Thompson; the book is sublime. Clearly an enormous amount of research has gone into the book and every page contains stunning details whether it's the designs of the rugs to the elaborate jewellery of the Sultan or the clothing of the guards to the swooping flights of mythology from Islam and Christianity. There's a two page splash drawing of a giant heap of garbage and it stops you in your tracks, it's so detailed. Thompson dives into the story never shying away from the hardship of drawing a crowd scene (and there are several scenes set in marketplaces) or drawing rivers of discarded human waste as well as bringing to life the wonderful characters of Dodola and Habibi.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful By hell-oh-kitteh on 13 Oct. 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Where do I start when reviewing this work? Firstly I should state that I havent read Craig Thompsons' highly praised graphic novel Blankets. Although I have looked at it many times and seriously considered buying it, there have always been other options at the time. So this is my first, proper, introduction to Thompson.

What an introduction this is! Habibi tells the story of two child slaves Dodola and Zam brought together by fate who take us through some of lifes most important lessons as we read their continuing stories in a fictitious Arabian landscape.

This book must have been painstakingly researched by the author as its scope and breadth of storytelling is just breathtaking. It was almost too much for me, and I read lots of comics and graphic novels. Encompassing quotes from the Koran and the Bible we see the similarities of the faiths, beautiful drawings of Arabic calligraphy, chemistry, biology, philosophy and all encompassing unconditional love. Indeed it is this which keeps you coming back for more as at its core this is surely a story of love between two people(s)

A beautiful 670 page hardback book it is stunningly designed and drawn from front cover to back cover. It reminds me somewhat of the manga Buddha by Osamu Tezuka which is also a work of incredible scope.

Beware though, the book does not shy away from adult themes and therefore is probably not for everyone.

I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Federhirn on 15 Oct. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Habibi is a beautiful, beautiful work of art. It is absolutely stunning. But it is also disconcerting.

Set in a fictitious Arab sultanate, this is the story of a young girl/woman and the toddler/boy/teenager/man she adopts. Our heroine is sold into marriage, then abducted by slavers, put in a slave market, where she adopts a black toddler. She escapes with the child, and forms a small family unit in the desert, never quite sure whether she acts as a mother or a sister to the growing boy. She tells the growing boy stories from the Qu'ran and other myths / fairy tales. But their life in the desert is not meant to last forever...

The graphic novel is perhaps the most beautifully illustrated thing I've ever read / beheld. It is clearly deeply in love with its aesthetic, and its aesthetic is mesmerisingly beautiful. In terms of the story, I was never bored reading this book.

But there are some things that are troubling. This book shows the Middle East through a Western prism. We get Middle Eastern aesthetic, beautiful Arabic script, myths from Arabian Nights and the Qu'ran, but we also get sultans, harems, slavery, eunuchs, beheadings, intermixed with mobile phones, dams, electricity and the modern world. The first two thirds of the book could be set in the 1800s and could have been written by a Victorian pornographer. The last third, with its hints of Dubai about it, feels like a somewhat uncomfortable add-on.

As I just mentioned the word "pornographer", it's perhaps worth talking about that, too. Our heroine spends an awful lot of time being naked, and there is a lot of sex in this book (indeed, sexuality is one of the major themes).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sernicki on 11 Jan. 2012
Format: Hardcover
I purchased this book on the strength of the BBC program "The Review Show" which spoke very highly of the author and this book. It was my first real meander into the world of graphic novels and I needed a good reason to enter this deceptive genre where the praise it received gave me that invitation. The story evolves around a girl called Dodola who is purchased from her family to be married and how her life pans out in a fusion of time, legends and immaginations. Dodola's life moves between adventures, trials and tribulations experiencing prison, enslavement, prostitution and rape though many middle eastern scenes and environments. During this time she finds a young child called Zam who she adopts and brings up as her own in an old ship in a desert (work that one out) and teaches him to read and work with numbers. As time mystically weaves its way through the narrative and exotic images a bond of love develops between Zam and Dodola. Dodoa is captured and seperated from Zam and eventually after both experiencing many hardships find each other again. Craig Thompson illustrates his knowledge of religious texts through his elaborate and intricate art work with a sensitive and flowing text that combine to make this both a visual and reading gastronomic feast. Having enjoyed this book and read it with a fervent eagerness I have purchased another of Craig Thompson's highly acclaimed graphic novels called Blankets. In conclusion Habibi is a beautiful story entwined with mystic stories, love and struggles for survival that are told in a truly artistic way.
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