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I Remember Beirut

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  1,279 ratings  ·  226 reviews
Zeina Abirached, author of the award-winning graphic novel A Game for Swallows, returns with a powerful collection of wartime memories.

Abirached was born in Lebanon in 1981. She grew up in Beirut as fighting between Christians and Muslims divided the city streets. Follow her past cars riddled with bullet holes, into taxi cabs that travel where buses refuse to go, and on
Paperback, 96 pages
Published August 1st 2014 by Graphic Universe (Tm) (first published January 1st 2008)
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Aug 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics, nonfiction, memoir
Wow. I'm not sure what I expected when I picked this up, but it wasn't this. I think maybe I was anticipating a more straightforward memoir, something more like Persepolis. There are some similarities, of course. The visual style Abirached uses is visually rather similar to the one Satrapi uses in Persepolis. In my eyes, that's a compliment. I think Abirached's art is perhaps a little more simple, but that's hardly a bad thing. Both works tell the story of a childhood defined by unrest in their ...more
B. P. Rinehart
"In a page of a book
Bombs see themselves,
Prophetic sayings and ancient wisdom see themselves,
Niches see themselves.
The threads of carpet words
Go through memory's needle
Over the city's face
." - From The Desert (The Diary of Beirut Under Siege) by Adonis

"Nothing distinguishes memories from ordinary moments. Only later do they make themselves known, from their scars." - Chris Marker (Epigraph of this book.)

I read this book while waiting for my copy of the follow-up to The Arab of the Future: A
Zeina Abirached chose an interesting angle for her memoir of the civil war in Beirut: instead of focusing on the politics or the chronology of the war, she illustrates the impact of the unrest on day-to-day life. From the school bus that won't come to her house, to her mom's bullet-ridden car, to her little brother's shrapnel collection, Abirached remembers it all. And her remembrances are a reminder to the rest of us of just how much most of us take for granted and how much we should be ...more
Nov 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
The artwork in black & white made me remember Persepolis. But the story it`s very lacking in informations and events so, in the end, I was quite disappointed.

Just ok.
Vivek Tejuja
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It doesn’t take time to read a graphic memoir. However, it does take time for it to settle in your heart and mind, if you allow it to that is. I Remember Beirut is one such memoir – I don’t think it is spoken about all that much as Persepolis or Maus, but it is in the same vein and extremely relevant (sadly) even today, given the times we live in.

Zeina Abirached writes about growing up during the Lebanese Civil War. She remembers things that happened in Beirut and what it was like to be a child
Loveliest Evaris
I will not lie when I say I was actually disappointed with this book. As this is being typed, I am taking a few courses regarding the history and culture of the Middle East and when I saw this book I thought "Hey, a graphic novel about one of the many skirmishes that took place there! This will enhance my world view!"

But it didn't.

Not at all.

This story may be biographical and supposedly about Beirut, but it tells the reader [b]nothing[/b] about the motives behind the war and attacks, the
Erin Lynn
May 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, graphic-novels
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Zeina Abirached uses graphic images to tell the tale of her childhood. It was a dark time then. Christians and Muslims were at war. It was a civil war that divided the city. She, her parents, and her brother are just trying to live a normal life during the war, but there are a lot of complications that they face. The school bus won’t come down her street, so she, her brother, and the neighbors have to be driven to school. They
Aug 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
I've previously read A Game for Swallows, which I liked very much. It breaks down the events of a single evening, as the author waits for her parents to return to their apartment. I Remember Beirut, on the other hand, compiles her memories of growing up in Beirut. It takes small moments and plays them out, sometimes over one page and sometimes more. The illustrations are unique, beautiful, and detailed (though bound to draw some comparisons with Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis). I like that you can ...more
A nice, short graphic memoir from a child’s perspective of the Lebanese civil war in Beirut. Striking, yet simple black and white illustrations.
A really quick but good read and introduction to a part of Middle Eastern history I don’t know much about.
Wayne McCoy
May 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
'I Remember Beirut' by Zeina Abirached is her memoir of growing up in Beirut during the Christian and Muslim war in the 1980s. The art is fantastic, but I kind of wanted something more.

Then again, she was just a child, so perhaps my expectations were a bit high. She talks about living in what the school thought was the neutral zone, so they had to be driven out of their neighborhood to a bus stop. Her brother collected shrapnel. There were blackouts and fuel shortages. Along the way, the family
Oct 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017
I immediately picked this up after reading A Game for Swallows: To Die, to Leave, to Return and was just as amazed at Zeina's work in this "sequel". This is a beautifully, simplistic piece about growing up in Beirut during the Civil War. I've noticed many readers have pointed to it being unusual or unique for not being so political. But that's how war works for civilians and especially children. Life goes on, regardless of the violence around you. A child will think and act like a child ...more
This graphic novel is a memoir of the author's experience and of what she can remember from the time she lived in Beirut.

I couldn't really rate a person experience but I can rate the storytelling and deliverance. The art is simple and minimalist that I found it's almost soothing while talking of the heavy topic. Now, I want to try her award winning graphic novel A Game for Swallows: To Die, to Leave, to Return!

A companion to A Game for Swallows, I Remember Beirut is a collection of memories. From one page to the next, Reina takes us through her childhood memoirs of the Lebanese Civil war through a series of “I remember” statements. These memoirs range from things she saw walking to school to the complex emotions of living in a war zone. The illustrations are beautiful, the storytelling is compelling, and new knowledge is learned on every page.

Both of these books should be in your library.

Told in a
May 25, 2014 rated it liked it
I love reading stories that put the experiences of someone living through a moment of world history into easy to digest and emotional narrative. I Remember Beirut does that, well, but it left me feeling a little lost. It has moments of brilliance such as the kids saying the colour of mom's car, but it also feels lacking. There is an emotional connection to the material but it isn't a deep one. I remember The Wall by Peter Sis doing a much better job of creating that empathy I crave. I'm also not ...more
Meh. The artwork was nice in this book. Other than that, it wasn't anything special. It doesn't give you any insight to the Lebanese civil war, or even to what it's like living in a war zone. It's a surprisingly optimistic book, and it doesn't really show the true horror of war. I definitely wouldn't recommend this book.
Justine Bishop
I remember Beirut is a beautifully illustrated graphic novel that tells the story of the author, Zeina Abirached’s childhood. Abirached grew up in Beirut, Lebanon during the war between the Christians and the Muslims. This graphic novel shows some of her memories of this time, and show the reader what everyday life, in the middle of a war zone, was like. By telling this story through a child’s eyes, the author covers the topic of war in a way that is honest, yet also appropriate for younger ...more
Jan 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed, memoir, graphic, asia
I Remember Beirut is a graphic memoir detailing some of Zeina Abirached's memories of her childhood growing up in Beirut during the Lebanese Civil War. I'm drawn to tales of divided cities, and Beirut fits into the strangeness of the genre.

One of Abirached's first reminiscences is that the parents of her neighborhood had to hire a taxi to pick up the kids in the morning to take them to the bus stop... because the school buses wouldn't go into their neighborhood at all, which belonged in a bit
Nicola Mansfield
Jul 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
The author is Christian Lebanese and was born and grew up during the Muslim/Christian Civil War in Beirut. This is her second graphic novel of memoirs of her childhood. This book is a collection of vignettes of "I remembers" as Zeinia recalls a childhood life in an active war torn war zone. There is no plot or overarching story. The author is simply bringing up memories from her childhood. Read from a Western perspective of someone who has never known war it all comes across as sad and ...more
Myrna Allen
Jul 24, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2014, graphic-novel
Zeina Abirached uses graphic images to tell her story about growing up in war-torn Beirut during the 1980s. Focusing on war’s impact, Abirached provides the reader with glimpses of every-day life and the effect war has on the ordinary citizen. From the water and electricity shortage, to the road closures, to her mom's bullet-ridden navy blue Renault, Abirached recounts it all.

I have read several great graphic novels depicting the struggle of peoples living through various types of war or
Feb 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: war-in-comics
Certainly not as inspiringly tight as A Game For Swallows, but still very solid. Abirached continues to reveal the every day life of a kid growing up in Lebanon during the war.

While I have read some reviews that criticized I Remember Beirut and A Game For Swallows for being too similar, but i would like to bring to your attention at least one key difference. This book is much more child focused. Rather then spending equal attention on the struggles of the adults around her and the struggles of
Joey Parisik
Oct 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
this book is really well written. the art is very similar to that of Persepolis. when i read this i find that it transitions very well as if i were thinking and seeing it in my mind. this book demonstrates how children of Beirut coped with growing up in the middle of a war they were born into. though the art isn't very detailed it still was more than enough to keep you interested. i recommend this book to anyone regardless of your interests because it is a very adaptable and well built book.
Jun 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant illustrations, excellently done. Abirached was born two years before me. Even though this book illustrates exactly how horrifying war can be, I found it interesting that Abirached and I still had some of the same memories. The repetitiveness and rhythm of this book, coupled with it's brevity, make it a quick, easy read. This is a perfect choice for a history student and, of course, for anyone who can appreciate a tough, but beautiful, story.
Ghazaal B.
Nov 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Continuing her previous work, "A Game For Swallows" this book has a nostalgic overlook the wartime Beirut. I personally found the previous book much more interesting and I excpected something more in this book. though still great illustrations and interesting content if you are interested in eastern culture. :)
This is like war-lite as far as reading goes. If you want children to read about war in a positive manner and with not a lot of disturbing images or thoughts, then this is the book for you. Also, if you are a fan of stream of consciousness writing, this is the book for you. If you want deeper explanations, more realistic overviews, or what is what...that will not be found here.
Nov 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A great addition to the genre of memoir and comic book. With an art style that is reminiscent of the culture but that is still approachable. And the simple "I remember..." style that says just enough about the experience of being a child and in the middle of a violent conflict.
Oct 09, 2014 rated it liked it
this was an ok book. it did not really click with me and my reading likening. i still thought it was a good book it has a lot of info in this book.
i gave it a 3 star rateing because it was good but it i did not click with it. i reccemend this book to people who like a good family book to read.
Mar 29, 2015 rated it liked it
I didn't find this as engaging as her other book as this was more of a list than an actual narrative, but it was still pretty good.
Jul 29, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was another quick read! I liked the black and white simplistic art style. However, I was pretty confused for most of this book and found it hard to connect with the characters.
Suad Shamma
Dec 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019, own, 2014, graphic-novels
I really enjoyed the illustrations and graphics of this novel, but wasn't too excited about the content.

I did like the fact that Zeina took a different route to talking about the civil war, a more personal route really. About her personal experience as a child surveying the world around her and all the things that are happening. Noticing the little details, her parents' reactions, the different situations she was put in when the electricity went out or when she couldn't go to school and so on.
Margaret Gerberding
Dec 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful graphic memoir about the authors childhood in Beirut.
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I Love My Anythink: Love "Persepolis"? Then read Zeina Abirached! 1 4 Nov 04, 2015 10:33AM  

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Zeina Abirached was born in Beirut, Lebanon. She studied graphic arts in Beirut and later in Paris, France. She has published 3 graphic novels: 'Beyrouth-Catharsis' '38, Rue Youssef Semaani' and 'Mourir, Partir, Revenir - Le Jeu des Hirondelles'. These were originally published in French, and have been translated into Dutch, Italian, and Spanish. Her mainly autobiographical works, illustrated in ...more
“Nothing distinguishes memories from ordinary moments. Only later do they make themselves known, from their scars. - Chris Marker” 8 likes
“I don't remember the last day of the war.

But I remember the first time you could take a shower.”
More quotes…