AUTHOR: Craig Thompson
ILLUSTRATOR: Craig Thompson
ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY: Between biblical and koranic references, Thompson tells a strange story about love that transcends desert landscapes and time.
Part of the reason I am giving it a 2/5 is because of the storytelling, and I feel bad because another part of me feels like it’s my fault. Confused? Let me explain. I am not a religious person, I don’t go to church, and I’ve never gone to any sort of bible study, therefore I’m not aware of biblical or koranic references, and Thompson’s story is full of them, but I simply didn’t understand them. I especially couldn’t see the relationship between the stories from the Koran (or is Quran?) in relation to Dodola and Zam’s story. Does that make it a bad book? No, but it didn’t make it a pleasant reading experience for me.
There are many reviews that point out the poorly portrayed orientalism and sexist imagery seen in the story. I’m not going to defend it, partly because I wasn’t aware of it at first, and partly because these reviews have a point. However, I will congratulate Thompson on his incorporation of the Koran and Arabic writing because it put’s it in a positive light rather than the negative aspect the mainstream media news constantly associates it with. For once, Arabic is neither good or bad, it’s just part of a story, and I liked that very much.
The BEST thing about Habibi has to be the art. I loved every single page and scene and design, it is absolutely superb and magnificent. His attention to detail is extraordinary and I can spend an entire day looking at the pages and keep finding little things within them. The pictures are lively and busy and amazingly crafted. This is why I love Thompson’s works, because he really lets the art do the talking rather than the text.
I could keep on showing you more beautiful panels from Habibi but I think you should check them out for yourself. So, although I didn’t really enjoy this book, I still think you should give it a try. The art alone is amazing to see.