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Habibi

4.03  ·  Rating Details  ·  25,303 Ratings  ·  2,498 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.
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Hardcover, 672 pages
Published September 20th 2011 by Pantheon (first published September 2011)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Madeline
Dec 03, 2011 Madeline rated it liked it
I don't usually read graphic novels, but on the recommendation of my roommate (and the fact that this is one beautiful-looking book) I started reading this. At first, I wasn't sure how to review it, because frankly I had a lot of conflicting feelings about it. Some parts I loved, some parts I hated, some parts I wonder if I just misunderstood. But it's okay, because that just means I was given an opportunity to write a review in what is, personally, my favorite reviewing style, which is:

THE GOOD
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Seth T.
Nov 04, 2011 Seth T. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics
Habibi by Craig Thompson

A couple weeks ago, I read and reviewed Chester Brown's Paying For It , a book singularly concerned with separating love from sex. Brown forwards the idea that fewer problems arise if we segregate sex as completely as we can from the relational sphere. He does this to such an extent that he proposes that sex is a pleasure best paid for and made entirely transactional. It's not spoiling anything to say that Brown, as he represents himself in the book, is more wholly concerned with sex than he is
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Caro
It's just too bad. This book is conceived in a truly spectacular way, and visually, it succeeds and succeeds and succeeds. Even at its most whimsical and farflung, the stories of the prophets and the references to mysticism thread elegantly through the narrative. Thompson has a knack for portraying themes through symbolism in an elaborate, poignant manner.

The book was at its best, actually, during these side-stories. The basic narrative is, rather literally, fucked. The theme of the story is co
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Deena
Nov 03, 2011 Deena rated it did not like it
Yay for Orientalism!

"My beef with Thompson is about his staggering Orientalism, which I’ll get to shortly.

Themes of longing and survival permeate Habibi. The protagonists, Zam and Dodola, long for each other, likening this to a yearning for the Divine – Middle Eastern poets have done this for centuries. Zam and Dodola endure horrible events in the name of survival, perhaps tying in with Thompson’s conservationist theme by implying that our disregard for the earth is tantamount to rape and castra
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Algernon
Apr 25, 2014 Algernon rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics, 2014
Habibi means Beloved in Arabic.

habibi

Which made me think of Toni Morrison when I first laid eyes on the graphic art album. By the end of the journey it turned out that my initial fancyful association was not so far-fetched and random as I expected. Because this is a story about pain and suffering among the dispossessed, the persecuted, the enslaved. It is also a story about strength and faith in the most cruel circumstances, about the things that unite us and help us make it through the night. Religio
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Ferdy
Spoilers

Absolutely awful, one of the most rage inducing things I've ever read. I don't even know where to begin, there were that many fucked up things about it.

Random, rambly thoughts:

-Habibi was a ridiculously offensive graphic novel filled with nothing but racist, sexist, orientalist, misogynistic rubbish. Then there was the glorification of abuse and rape running throughout, the main character couldn't go at least a couple of pages without being naked, raped or victimised.

-The story itself w
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K. F.
Dec 05, 2011 K. F. rated it it was ok
Shelves: comics
Habibi is a laboriously gorgeous comic, with beautiful drawings, inks and atmosphere. Ever since Craig Thompson announced it on his blog years ago, I had been really excited. I had loved Goodbye Chunky Rice, liked Blankets, and was sure that Thompson would craft a beautiful story with all the care that it would require.

It's a real shame that it's a hopelessly orientalist narrative with virtually every other *ism you can think of added in with bonus writing that really isn't that great. We spend
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Patrick
Jan 11, 2012 Patrick rated it it was amazing
Wow.

I guarantee you've never read anything like this book.
Richard Derus
Sep 01, 2013 Richard Derus rated it did not like it
I tried, really really hard I tried, but Habibi has defeated me. I simply cannot help myself, I put Richie Rich's face on the men and Veronica's on the women. Graphic novel remains, for me, a term of art without substantive affect on my vision. To me, they're comic books, and I didn't ever like comic books.

So sorry. I'll go now.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Γκέλλυ
*Re-edit. To Habibi είναι το αγαπημένο μου, παίζω και με τα gifs...*

This is an obsessive orgy of Art. Δεν είναι δικά μου τα λόγια αλλά δεν θα μπορούσα να το γράψω καλύτερα.

To Habibi είναι μια επική ιστορία που διαδραματιζεται στην εξωτική Μέση Ανατολή και ακολουθεί τις τύχες της Dodola και του Zam. Η Dodola, ένα μικρο παιδί που εξαναγκάζεται να παντρευτεί από τους αναλφάβητους γονείς της με οικονομικό αντάλλαγμα. Μέσα από αυτό τον γάμο μαθαίνει να διαβάζει, να γράφει και να αφηγείται ιστορίες.
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Nnedi
Dec 16, 2011 Nnedi rated it it was amazing
I can’t recommend this book enough. This graphic novel is a testament to the fact that the physical book should never die. Habibi is a work of art full of Arabic calligraphy, bleeding pages and detailed imagery that is both Arab and African, modern and ancient. And equally as exquisite, compelling and daring is the book’s story of two slaves, one African and one Arab and how the world shapes, destroys, and evolves them. THE Best Book of 2011.
Huda AbuKhoti
Oct 11, 2014 Huda AbuKhoti rated it did not like it
I am just sad and very upset, ignorant and shallow orientalism go through this book from start to finish. The artwork is amazing, although I hate it when arabic calligraphy is misused as a decor and with random meaningless letters. The elaborate usage of religious stories that had nothing to do with the ideologies in the book and its storyline that were furthermore exploited sometimes by misinterpretations was just too much for me. Overall it's overwhelming and not in a good way, as a Muslim wom ...more
Teresa
Jun 18, 2012 Teresa rated it really liked it
Recommended to Teresa by: Nick Kives
This is a gorgeous book, from cover to cover and all the illustrations (and calligraphy) in between. I wasn't sure in the beginning that I would like it, but I quickly found I did, and then the pages turned quickly as well.

In the beginning, because of the age of one of the main characters at the start, I (naively?) thought the story was set in the past, but not too far into it, I realized the time is now. And because of that, the story is relevant, as regards the treatment of females, of those w
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Sarah
Feb 21, 2012 Sarah rated it liked it
Shelves: comics
This is a difficult book to rate. If I were rating on the artwork alone, I would give it four or five stars. Thompson's penwork is outstanding. He has grown as an artist over the course of his career, and he started at a pretty decent level too. Gorgeous design work, beautifully composed panels. Not Thompson's, but the hardcover edition is itself beautifully designed and a pleasure to hold.
Unfortunately, I don't think the story is quite equal to the art. It's very good, probably better than my t
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Liz BooksandStuff
Jun 30, 2016 Liz BooksandStuff rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
Triggers in this wonderful book.

Habibi means many things in Arabic, a term of endearment to others, but I like to use it to mean “beloved.” And this book is habibi to me.

This novel is set in an Islamic state, but not historical, rather current, but more of a mythical place, and it follows Dodola and Zam, child slaves as they escape ad try to find each other once more. It is basically a love story, but with so much more depth, and what humanity causes,suffering, faith, and culture and its divid
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Nicholas Karpuk
Dec 12, 2014 Nicholas Karpuk rated it did not like it
I couldn't review this book until I came up with a suitably convoluted metaphor:

This book is like being hit by a pillow shot by artillery at great range. There's a lot of noise on delivery, it takes forever to hit you, and when you do there's a lot of mixed feelings, but mostly just confusion, annoyance, and uncertainty about what exactly the point was.

In opposition to what Craig Thompson may or may not be discouraging you from doing (maybe?), I'm going to make a broad stereotype. A person raise
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Mac
Sep 26, 2012 Mac rated it liked it
I can’t remember the last time my thoughts were divided so cleanly in half when considering a book I’d read. For every “so,” I had a “but” to countermand it. The synthesis of these opposing opinions, it seems, is a middling rating – but I wouldn’t say that it’s any sort of mediocre book.

So. The initial reaction I have, at a gut level (said gut having been conditioned by too much school and cultural theory), is to go running to find Edward Said’s ghost and show him what this guy did. How, really,
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Katiarai
Sep 29, 2011 Katiarai rated it liked it
I think the review from The Guardian really explains my reaction to this book the best. The artwork is beautiful. But the lack of a specific location and time period really weakens the story and characters allowing neither to fully take off nor grow. So instead as I read I kept waiting to fully understand the scope of all that was happening and the reason it was written/drawn as it was only to find nuggets and glimmers without the satisfaction that existed in Blankets' fully developed concept.

T
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Oriana
Aug 12, 2013 Oriana rated it it was amazing
#20 for Jugs & Capes!

Holy balls, this book is so phenomenal. I put it on my CCLaP best-of-2011 list, and here's what I said there:

My hopes for this one were pretty low, as I'd found Blankets to be flaccid and hokey and saccharine and generally pretty boring. Habibi, though, is downright spectacular. The illustrations are absolutely gorgeous, complex and inventive and enthralling. The story is huge and sweeping, a sad tale of two people with insanely awful lives who find each other and save
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Λίνα Θωμάρεη
Δεν ξετρελάθηκα....
Τα σκίτσα και η ιστορία σίγουρα ήταν ιδιαίτερα ... αλλά μέχρι εκεί... :/
(Sorry Γκέλλυ)
Tatiana
Jan 27, 2012 Tatiana rated it liked it
Gorgeously drawn, but the story itself is bloated, unfocused and occasionally melodramatic and exploitative.
Mala
Dec 23, 2011 Mala rated it it was amazing
FANTASTIC! -a mixture of Islamic stories in symbolism of the plot, a genuine story of survival, and stunning graphic designs that portray both emotions and linear concepts. After reading Habibi, .....I simply want to read it again! (and that doesn't occur often for me). I love the depth of feeling that Craig Thompson brings to Habibi. I definitely recommend this graphic novel to all "mature" readers (due to visuals of nudity, and some images implying a rape scene) and to all who enjoy reading ab ...more
Alja (alyaofwinterfell)
Apr 27, 2016 Alja (alyaofwinterfell) rated it it was amazing
Habibi has 672 pages and yet I've read it in one sitting. Is there really anything more to add?

It was poignant, heartbreaking, horrifying and breathtakingly beautiful at the same time.

description

The story isn't linear but it's relatively easy to follow the jumps in narrative and time. Thompson adds a lot of side stories from The Quran, which were interesting and added to the story and to the message it carries. Here religion plays a vital role, but it is shown as the way of healing and hope, rather than in
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Suzie Toumeh
Arabs don't like to draw pictures for their stories because it's a sin (or so I was told when I asked my Islamic studies teacher in fourth grade why we don't have Arabic comics), and although I grew up in a Christian family, I knew the Muslim stories more than I knew anything. I grew up with them. I read them. I told them. I believed in them (and then I didn't). and now I've finally seen them.

If anyone saw this book in my society (I live in the Middle East), they'll probably say I'm going to hel
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William Galaini
Jun 19, 2013 William Galaini rated it did not like it
Habibi is perhaps the greatest example of beautifully executed trash. It is the Prometheus of graphic novels. Never have I seen such a detailed and intricately presented comic that appears to have been conceived and written over a matter of ten drunken, ethnocentric minutes. It is a delicious Swedish pastry with crumbly, honey drizzled walnuts on top... filled with dog-shit. Blacking out the lines of dialogue in this book would help it IMMENSELY.

Why? Well, here's why:

First off, the setting is a
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David Schaafsma
Whereas Blankets is sort of sweet and simple and anguished, a story of a summer love and all its complications, religious and philosophical and aesthetic, Habibi takes place over decades, and deals with the relationship between Christianity and Islam, environmental disaster... and yes, love. What this arthritic genius had to do to learn and enact Arabic art and language.... to delve into deeper aspects of religion, so impressive. Sometimes I felt he was biting off more than he could chew, as I a ...more
Didi
Read this graphic novel in one day - half of it in the morning and the other half in the afternoon. In essence it's a love story of sorts, with a very heavy religious theme which is a little forced into the story. I wasn't convinced of its role. I didn't find it as spectacular as I had heard. The graphic novel is well drawn and it's a beautiful hardcover book, however the story was meh, too repetitive. It has too much rape and poor treatment of women in it for my taste. So if you are sensitive t ...more
Noce
Dec 29, 2011 Noce rated it it was amazing
Ho visto cose di me, che voi umani….

Stanotte ho finito di leggere “Habibi”.

Avrei anche potuto scrivere subito qualcosa, ma la mia anima esigeva un raccoglimento più lungo, prima di permettere al mio corpo di agire. Non so se sono pronta neanche adesso, a distanza di una notte affollata di sogni intensi. Ma forse è più il bisogno di mettere nero su bianco certe sensazioni, certi stati dell’essere, così, a caldo. Stanotte mi è accaduta una cosa che, da lettrice mi è capitato veramente rarissime vo
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Sam Quixote
Oct 15, 2011 Sam Quixote rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Jubilation Lee
Habibi may be one of the most beautifully-illustrated books I have ever seen in my entire life. My God, guys. Every page—EVERY PAGE—is perfectly drawn. When I used to work in translations, I got to the point where I would identify different words in Thai or Marathi or Urdu as looking like pictures (“Hey, there’s the word that looks like someone kicking a soccer ball!”) but I really hadn’t ever thought of script as being an art form, until I read this story.

So illustrations, yes. This book gets
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Craig Ringwalt Thompson (b. September 21, 1975 in Traverse City, Michigan) is a graphic novelist best known for his 2003 work Blankets. Thompson has received four Harvey Awards, two Eisner Awards, and two Ignatz Awards. In 2007, his cover design for the Menomena album Friend and Foe received a Grammy nomination for Best Recording Package.

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“You're more than a story.” 41 likes
“The Sufi saint Rabi'a Al-Adawiyya was seen carrying a firebrand and a jug of water - the firebrand to burn Paradise, the jug of water to drown Hell...

So that both veils disappear, and God's followers worship, not out of hope for reward, nor fear of punishment, but out of love.”
30 likes
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