Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating


4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  18,219 ratings  ·  1,881 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....more
Hardcover, 672 pages
Published September 20th 2011 by Pantheon
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Habibi, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Habibi

Watchmen by Alan MooreThe Complete Maus by Art SpiegelmanV for Vendetta by Alan MooreThe Sandman, Vol. 1 by Neil GaimanThe Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Best Graphic Novels
45th out of 1,693 books — 4,068 voters
Watchmen by Alan MooreThe Complete Maus by Art SpiegelmanV for Vendetta by Alan MooreThe Sandman, Vol. 1 by Neil GaimanBatman by Frank Miller
Required Reading Graphic Novels
70th out of 738 books — 1,174 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
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...more
Seth Hahne
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...more
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...more
Habibi means Beloved in Arabic.


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...more
Kelli Fisher
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...more
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
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.
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...more
Jun 18, 2012 Teresa rated it 4 of 5 stars
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...more
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.
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...more

I guarantee you've never read anything like this book.
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.

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,...more
#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...more
Nicholas Karpuk
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...more

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...more
Gorgeously drawn, but the story itself is bloated, unfocused and occasionally melodramatic and exploitative.
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...more
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
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...more
It's almost tragic that Thompson spent years drawing this book but I consumed it in an evening; the same was true of his earlier work, Blankets as well. But the thing is, though they read quickly, no detail is lost. And there is a lot of detail to look at, especially in this volume. If he spent six years or whatever drawing it, you can see it on every page. It is a visual treat. I also can't believe that Thompson doesn't actually know Arabic. Crazy.

I see online that I'm supposed to not like this...more
I have really mixed feelings about this graphic novel (emphasis on novel). It is gorgeously rendered and there are parts of it that are amazing. However, there are also moments of what I saw as shocking insensitivity that I really found troubling. I'm not usually a PC nazi, but there were characterizations that seemed a little offensive. For example, the way the harem eunuchs were drawn seemed like caricature. Also, some of the cultural aspects of both the far east and the middle east seemed a b...more
I understand why this might be called a Masterwork. It really is beautiful and complex, epic and ambitious. Personally, I connected with the adoption story, at least in its early stages (;)).

And I. Loved. Blankets. Thompson's earlier monsterwork was the reason I realized I was a comics fiend. The portal I took to appreciating alternative and autobiographical comics for grownups (it didn't hurt that I shared my very unique first name with the object of the protagonist's affections in that novel)...more
i. merey
The art in this book is like a graphic magic trick-- I kept asking myself, God, how did he do that?
How did he DO that? Each page is absolutely beautiful and a joy to look at. When I look at his art, I feel that Thompson must be a genuinely good person; you can see his love and genius in this media.

The story of two outcasts who find comfort and family in each other was engaging and I enjoyed Thompson's examination of love: Cham/Zam and Dodola love and see each other on many levels, as brother/sis...more
Absolutely incredible. Beautiful calligraphy, detailed illustrations, intense historical fiction - I read something describing Craig Thompson's work as a "triumph" and I completely agree.

Habibi is a combination of historical fiction, religious fiction, and graphic novel. Told in a non-linear fashion, the stories of Dodola and Zam are brilliantly woven together with myths and tales from Islam, Judaism, and Christianity, enhancing the stories of the characters and giving a contemporary context for...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Intense, beautifully drawn, moving, and I feel like I learned something. Not bad for a 'graphic novel.' I'm holding back on other comment until my "League of Extraordinary Dorks" book club discusses it.

Several tidbits from an interview with the author in a Boston Phoenix article were very illuminating:
"Habibi is set in a fairy-tale Islamic dystopia — half Blade Runner, half Arabian Nights."
This is true! It feels like the past and the horrible future depending on where you are.

"Each of Habibi's n...more
I wanted to read this because I liked Thompson's earlier book, Blankets. Habibi is beautifully drawn, but the story is very dark, dealing with slavery, prostitution, rape and murder in a region that resembles the Middle East. The plot follows two orphans, Zam and Dodola, who bond together to survive, and the different paths their lives take when they are separated. Dodola is a good storyteller, and the book also weaves in various religious tales from the Koran and the Bible.

Thompson is a gifted...more
Luc Abdullah
Dari segi ilustrasi, sangat menarik dan jalan cerita yang WTF tapi sakit kepala aku baca with all the theories of theologies crashing in my head.

Pada penghujung cerita, aku teringat filem The Skin I Live In. Tak sama pun, tapi serupa.

Craig seperti sangat menyukai kisah para nabi pembawa agama langit.

Kalau ditanya berbaloi tak baca buku ni? Berbaloi kerana ia memang WTF/
Kalau ditanya best tak baca buku ni? Iqra.

Bagi aku lah, buku ni paling saiko pernah aku baca. Kisah ngeri pun tak cukup saiko m...more
Sam Quixote
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
Nicolo Yu
I’ve heard nothing but great reviews about Craig Thompson’s Habibi. I decided that I wanted to try it out, since I am always keen to expand my horizons beyond the superhero genre that I enjoy and in to the realm of independent and non-superhero graphic novels. It took a few months before I found a copy and it was on a business trip. I could still remember what I felt when I first saw it, it was smaller than I thought, and the 672 pages give a nice heft to it. The overall package was impressively...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • Big Questions
  • Daytripper
  • Three Shadows
  • Footnotes in Gaza
  • Koko Be Good
  • Chroniques de Jérusalem
  • The Complete Essex County
  • Zahra's Paradise
  • Unterzakhn
  • Pinocchio
  • Hey, Wait...
  • Blacksad
  • Goliath
  • Mother, Come Home
  • Box Office Poison
  • Vietnamerica: A Family's Journey
  • The Nao of Brown
  • The Contract With God Trilogy: Life on Dropsie Avenue
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.

More about Craig Thompson...
Blankets Good-Bye, Chunky Rice Carnet de Voyage Dark Horse Deluxe Journal: Craig Thompson's Angels and Demons Kissypoo Garden: The Shorter Works of Craig Thompson

Share This Book

“You're more than a story.” 30 likes
“They say a man's inspiration is visual, but for a woman, it's the narrative.

Abandon both the narrative and the visual. Close your eyes, measure your breath.

Dead weight is sloughed off, dust swept away, forms dissolve into one atmosphere.

The rib cage opens, the lungs fill, the breast rises.

Waves sweep up the body on their swell, rocking it rhythmically.

Feet planted, the back arches, the pelvis reaches forward.

Oxygen kindles a flame, sprawling through the belly, and gathering in a warm blaze.

The hand reaches to meet the sensation.

Calligraphy spills from the inkwell.

Open your eyes, sharpen your focus, and exclaim:

There are no separations.”
More quotes…