My love for graphic novels began when I moved to France 29 years ago. I have always been a fan of comic strips left over from my young days of scrambling for the the comic section every Sunday morning. But, graphic novels have added something else a little special to my reading. Today’s recommendation is The Arab of the Future: A Childhood in the Middle East, 1978-1984: A Graphic Memoir by Riad Sattouf.
So what’s a graphic novel? It’s a story that is presented in comic-strip format and published as a book. It’s usually lengthy in size. The Arab of the Future is a graphic memoir, which is a comic or sequential art that tell an autobiographical story. Graphic memoirs are sub-genres of graphic novels and comics. Examples of comics would be Black Panther and Saga. The Arab of the Future consists of 4 volumes originally written in French, and they are translated into 21 languages. Surprisingly, it has not been translated into Arabic because only the first volume was ordered by publishers. Sattouf refused to accept that his graphic memoir wouldn’t be integrally published in Arabic, so it hasn’t happened.
Riad Sattouf has taken the time to recount his coming of age and family life while moving between Libya, Syria, and France. He’s blatantly honest about his experiences and at times it can be painful to read. This being said humor is what he does best. Through his simplistic, but expressive drawings with colorful backgrounds each color representing a country; he takes us on an emotional rollercoaster we are not ready to forget. It’s interesting to see culture in Syria and Libya in the late 1970s to mid 1980s. If you start reading volume 1 make sure you have all the others so that you don’t have to stop reading.
I recommend this series of graphic novels to readers who like reading them (because this one is easy to follow), are interested in learning about culture in Syria and Libya, and enjoy graphic novels in series. I can’t wait for the release of volume 5 (in French) which is slotted for October-November 2020! You my have to wait a year or so for the translation into English. Check out the video below where Riad Sattouf speaks about The Arab of the Future. 🙂
“In striking, virtuoso graphic style that captures both the immediacy of childhood and the fervor of political idealism, Riad Sattouf recounts his nomadic childhood growing up in rural France, Gaddafi’s Libya, and Assad’s Syria–but always under the roof of his father, a Syrian Pan-Arabist who drags his family along in his pursuit of grandiose dreams for the Arab nation.” (The Arab of the Future, book cover)
The Arab of the Future: A Childhood in the Middle East, 1978-1984: A graphic Memoir – Riad Sattouf
Publisher: Metropolitan Books
My rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
If you’d like to pick up a copy of any of my recommendations please consider clicking my affiliate link for The Book Depository. It would be much appreciated. It will help fund my incessant book buying, reading, and reviewing. Thank you!