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L'Arabe du futur : Une jeunesse au Moyen-Orient, 1978–1984

(L'Arabe du futur #1)

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  9,088 ratings  ·  899 reviews
alternate cover for this ISBN can be found here

Né dun père syrien et dune mère bretonne, Riad Sattouf grandit dabord à Tripoli, en Libye, où son père vient dêtre nommé professeur. Issu dun milieu pauvre, féru de politique et obsédé par le panarabisme, Abdel-Razak Sattouf élève son fils Riad dans le culte des grands dictateurs arabes, symboles de modernité et de puissance
Paperback, 158 pages
Published May 15th 2014 by Allary Éditions
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 ·  9,088 ratings  ·  899 reviews

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Start your review of L'Arabe du futur : Une jeunesse au Moyen-Orient, 1978–1984
DNF'd because the font is so tiny that all my concentration was on reading the text and not the meaning and so I could never get into it. (view spoiler)

The author was a cartoonist at
Jan Philipzig
Like Art Spiegelmans Maus and Alison Bechdels Fun Home, Riad Sattoufs The Arab of the Future (yep, weird title!) is as much a memoir as it is an attempt to come to terms with a father of the... um... uh... challenging variety. Sattoufs cartooning is more fluid, relaxed, and humorous than that of his American colleagues, though, almost jazzy. It communicates openness, flexibility, and empathy qualities we could use more of in Muslim-Western relations these days. And these Muslim-Western ...more
This memoir in the form of a graphic novel by Riad Sattouf is positively terrifying. It only takes an evening to read, and I can guarantee you will not want to put it down.

A cartoonist and former contributor to Charlie Hebdo, Sattouf now has a weekly column in Frances LObs. This graphic memoir is translated from the French by Sam Taylor and published in 2015 by Metropolitan Books, and tells of Sattoufs early childhood in France, Libya, and Syria.

The memoir is terrifying for what it tells us of
Very funny, when it isn't totally terrifying.

I will never understand why the author's mom went along with all her husband's crazy ideas though.
Sam Quixote
Oct 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the first part of Riad Sattoufs childhood memoirs, The Arab of the Future, and it is superb! With a Syrian father and French mother, the small family travels across Europe as his father gets work as an associate professor in Tripoli, Libya, during Gaddafis reign, before briefly jumping to Brittany, France, and ending up in nightmarish Syria under Hafez al- Assad.

Sattouf doesnt do anything particularly special with his style of storytelling, either literally or visually, he just tells it
David Schaafsma
Oct 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first volume of a memoir by filmmaker and former Charlie Hebdo cartoonist Sattouf, about growing up in France--where his Sunni father met his French mother--and Libya and Syria. The artwork is terrific. Cartoony, it took me a little bit to get into the style, but it is highly accomplished work. The story features cute big nosed blonde young Sattouf, his mother, and principally his crazy racist academic father. We get glimpses into the poverty and chaos of Syria and Libya and the contrasts ...more
Jon Nakapalau
As a young boy Riad leaves rural France and is relocated in Libya and Syria as his father tries to connect with Pan-Arabist undercurrents in the region. Observant and filled with the type of 'shock of culture' that so often is not considered relevant when trying to understand national identification. This book gives us a micro-view of complex and continuing barriers when identifying normative behavior from differing cultural perspectives.
Sep 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Illuminating memoir of a child moving between countries and cultures. Poignant, humorous and at times horrific. Satttoufs narrative invites the reader to hear the sounds of the souq, inhale the smell of the sweat around him, and imagine the tastes of his diverse diet. We get a childs perspective of parental conflicts that begin to shape his identity and worldview. It all merges into a cross cultural and cross national chaos. I cant wait to begin part 2. Thought provoking and always enlightening. ...more
B. P. Rinehart
"IT may perhaps be censured as an impertinent criticism, in a discourse of this nature, to find fault with words and names, that have obtained in the world: and yet possibly it may not be amiss to offer new ones, when the old are apt to lead men into mistakes, as this of paternal power probably has done, which seems so to place the power of parents over their children wholly in the father, as if the mother had no share in it; whereas, if we consult reason or revelation, we shall find, she hath ...more
Dec 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
A memoir by a former cartoonist for Charlie Hebdo. Part to a French mother and Syrian father, it details his young childhood in Libya, Syria, and France as his father receives jobs as an associate professor. Told through a little boys eyes, we see the crazy, third-world conditions he grows up in under two dictators, first Gaddafi and then al-Aasad. It's as much his father's story as his own as he comes home and complains to his family every evening. His father was a complicated man, one of the ...more
Book Riot Community
Ive been itching for a good comic book and this one delivered. Part of a trilogy originally in French, the book is a graphic memoir of Riads life. The son of a Syrian father and a French mother, he spends his early years between Libya, Syria and France as he encounters the absurdities of life in the Middle East. Gorgeously illustrated.

Kareem Shaheen

from The Best Books We Read In January 2017:
Another graphic novel of autobiographical slant (after Maus and Persepolis). In this book Riad Sattouf presents his earliest youth (partly spent in France, Libya and Syria) and we tend to see everything through his innocent eyes, giving the story a neutral look, but clearly it is 'steered' by the writer Sattouf. This ambiguity is the real strength of this story, I think. Both in Libya (where the 'modernization' of Gaddafi rolls over the country) and in Syria (where the Assad dictatorship is some ...more
Brown Girl Reading
Oct 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
L'Arabe du Futur is an excellent recounting of the first 6 years of Riad Sattouf's life. We follow his family from France to Libya and to Syria. We are introduced to the difficulties of life in Libya and Syria and all of the cultural differences and the challenges for Riad to fit in and to speak Arabic. The absurdities and horrors of life living in these countries will make you laugh, outraged, and sorrowful. Sattouf tells the story with blatant honesty. There are many times when you won't ...more
Jugs & Capes (my all-girl graphic-novel book club) has been hankering to read this one for awhile. We had really, really mixed opinions about it this book has such an intense realism, illuminating lands with which none of us are familiar, but it does so in a remarkably damning, ugly way. At club we talked a lot about the responsibility of the artist: whether a member of a marginalized group is required to consider and/or represent the entire vast spectrum of that group in his or her ...more
Elizabeth A
Something you might not know about me, is that as a kid born and raised in Kenya, I was a huge fan of Muammar Gaddafi. Huge. He was one of the African leaders who created the hope that we would end Imperialism and all its vices in Africa. Well, things did not quite go as planned, but, I think it is important to not gloss over the things we believed in our childhood, as they affect how we develop our world views as adults.

This graphic memoir is set in France, Libya and Syria, and we learn about
Jan 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2017
My first graphic novel of 2017. Riad Sattouf takes us on a magic carpet toward his childhood in France, Libya, and Syria. He draws his childhood in a cartoonish way under the shadow of Gaddafi, Hafez Assad, and his father.

We see the world through his eyes. The eyes of a blonde boy struggling with the Middle East and have no idea what is going on around him.

I enjoyed the drawings, the political interpretations and the way media is used in this memoir. The way he draws the news reels and the
Matthew Quann
The Arab of the Future is bound to draw comparisons to its predecessors in the field of graphic novels. It is an expansive memoir of Riad Sattouf's childhood spent bouncing between Libya, Syria and France, following his expatriate father. Comparisons have already been drawn between this graphic novel and Persepolis, another comic about a childhood in the middle east, but I found that The Arab of the Future packs a more potent punch. The story here is told from Sattouf's perspective as he begins ...more
In this graphic memoir, the first of an ongoing series, young Riad Sattouf's view of the world is sometimes funny, sometimes traumatic (there is a particularly violent and upsetting scene in the end of the book, fair warning). Born in France, then to Libya, then to Syria, we see a child's view of the regions and the cultures. Riad and his mother are toted around at the whim of his father, a strongly opinionated and prejudiced academic. One of the reviews on the back cover states that young Riad ...more
Aug 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Surprised by how much I loved this one - funny, sharp, and thought-provoking. The author's father is Syrian and his mother is French, and he spent different parts of his childhood in Libya, France, and Syria. There's so much to mull over in here - the way Sattouf depicts childhood (and how children perceive different cultures), the nutso but fascinating portrait of his father, and the way that the political and the personal intersect. And, as a bonus, my sense of humor meshed perfectly with ...more
The title is serious as is the book.

If we didn't know the future of little Riad it would be hard to guess, but the future of his cousins is clear.

This doesn't have the punch of Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood, Barefoot Gen, Volume One: A Cartoon Story of Hiroshima or Maus I: A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History, which portray everyday people in big moments of history.

Sattouf describes the day to day drone of life under dictatorship. He shows his father's cognitive dissonance as he
Alice Rachel
Dec 27, 2017 rated it did not like it
I hated this book.

The depiction of anyone who isn't French is extremely negative and insulting.

There isn't a character in this book who isn't either a racist, or a sexist pig, or a homophobe.

Except for French people who are presented as clean, smelling good, and smart. Everyone else is either dirty, violent, or stupid.
If this isn't propaganda, I don't know what is!

The only interesting aspect of this book was to see how dictatorships work, how they hurt people, starve them, brainwash them,
Suad Shamma
Dec 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, 2015, graphic-novels
I really can't decide how I feel about this book.

I can't put my feelings into words. I gave it 4 stars because the graphics are great, and the sarcasm/humor is on point. No one can say otherwise. However, being an Arab and a Muslim myself, I feel torn about where I stand. Yes, this is a satiric account of a boy's life moving around between Libya, Syria and France. A boy who was born to a Syrian father and a French mother. It bothered me how acquiescent the mother seemed to be, it was actually
Stewart Tame
Nov 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It seems that the Middle Eastern memoir graphic novel is proliferating. I've lost count of how many I've read over the past couple of years. I'm not sure if more of them are being published, or just that more of them are being released in English translations after Marjane Satrapi's success. I'm not complaining, just curious. So, as the subtitle implies, this is Riad's story of growing up in Libya and Syria, so his family got to experience the rule of both Gaddafi AND Assad. It appears that it ...more
Eric Anderson
Aug 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read graphic books so rarely, but every time I do pick one up I wonder why I dont read more. Maybe its because usually only the most acclaimed and, presumably, high quality ones reach me. Whatever the case, this first volume of Riad Sattoufs graphic memoir about his childhood growing up in Libya, Syria and France is absolutely mesmerising. It depicts his experiences under the parentage of his academic Syrian father Abdul-Razak and his French mother Clementine. His fathers ideals and pride ...more
Male Persepolis, but in Syria and Libya. I'm interested to see where this story goes in the next four volumes.
Bogi Takács
Everything is awful and everyone is horrible! This is not a light read, and it has heapings of both bullying and animal abuse. (This is not necessarily a problem for me, I was severely bullied as a child but in general I am OK reading about it. Just stating because your mileage might seriously vary.)

It also has the annoying French / Franco-Belgian / (also somewhat Nordic) comics tendency of showing a lot of "politically incorrect" things and while presented as bad, still kind of reveling in
If you are a fan of graphic novel memoirs along the lines of Perspolis and Maus, then this volume by Riad Sattouf makes a worthy addition to your collection.

Born in 1978 to a French mother and Syrian father, Sattouf recounts his nomadic childhood spent in France, Libya and later Syria. Using a lively cartoonist style, each country is depicted in the hues of its national flag, emphasizing the emotional undercurrents of the situation France is blue with red accents, Libya yellow with green
Tamara Agha-Jaffar
The Arab of the Future: A Childhood in the Middle East, 1978-1984: A Graphic Memoir by Riad Sattouf, translated by Sam Taylor, is Sattoufs memoir in the form of a graphic novel. This first book in the trilogy describes Sattoufs early childhood in France, Libya, and Syria. It opens when he is two years old and concludes when he is the ripe old age of six.

Born of a French mother and Syrian father, Sattouf experiences life in France, in Gaddafis Libya, and in Hafez Al-Assads Syria. He describes
Nov 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Volume 1 of Riad Sattouf's cartoon memoir* tells the story of the French cartoonist's early years, which sees him and his family move from France to Lybia, back to France, then to Syria. As best as I can tell it covers the first five years of his life.

Sattouf's father, a kind of naive idealist, looms large in this volume (he may even be the protagonist to some degree), in contrast to the young, largely speechless Sattouf, and his mother, a French woman who leaves her homeland for the Middle
The Arab of the Future is an intriguing and enjoyable read, and I am surprised I had not heard about it before picking it up off the library shelf.

The art was quality, and I really enjoyed the stylistic choice of using a different colour for each place Sattouf was in. The translation was impressively done, with the whole story being clear, the dialog sounding natural, and even slang and insults making perfect sense (with the only real quirk I noticed being that roundabout was translated to
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Riad Sattouf est lauteur de nombreuses bandes dessinées, parmi lesquelles Retour au collège, Pascal Brutal (Fauve dor 2010) ou La vie secrète des jeunes. Les beaux gosses, César du meilleur premier film ; Jacky au royaume des filles)  

Other books in the series

L'Arabe du futur (4 books)
  • L'Arabe du futur 2 : Une jeunesse au Moyen-Orient, 1984-1985
  • L'Arabe du futur 3 : Une jeunesse au Moyen-Orient, 1985-1987
  • L'Arabe du futur 4 : Une jeunesse au Moyen-Orient, 1987-1992

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