I picked up this mind-boggling graphic novel on a whim, and I’ll forever be grateful for that. My head felt like a spaceship right after finishing. Prepare for this to change your perception and the way you think about… everything.
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. We follow them as their lives unfold together and apart; as they struggle to make a place for themselves in a world (not unlike our own) fueled by fear, lust, and greed; and as they discover the extraordinary depth—and frailty—of their connection.
And can I just say that this was exactly what I was looking for in graphic novels: intellectual, emotional, philosophical, religious, existential feelings. Plus, not only was the dialogue written with haunting detail, but the illustrations… oh man, the illustrations were a whole new level of beautiful and vibrant.
I think the above is my all-time favorite piece of drawing from Habibi.
The level of detail is remarkable.
I’m still reeling from everything that went down, but I do know this: I was left feeling both satisfied and craving for more of Dodola and Zam, particularly the lavishing stories she told him. There are a couple of them that keep haunting my mind wherever I go.
To conclude, Craig Thompson is a mastermind, and I can’t wait to pick up more of his brilliant creations.