Saturday, 29 December 2012

Habibi – a graphic novel by Craig Thompson

My first introduction to Craig Thompson’s books was the heartbreakingly beautiful story of love – Blankets. Though I had not heard of Habibi before as soon as I became aware that Comica had arranged a conversation with Marcel Theroux to launch this book in London I snapped up a ticket and was one of the first in line to buy it on the night.

Every page is incredibly detailed and 
beautifully drawn.
Habibi just blows me away. For a start it is huge – 672 pages – I have a hard back version and it is quite a substantial weight. I bought the book in winter 2012 and ended up waiting until the weather warmed up so that I could sit up properly to read it in bed (my favourite reading place) without getting cold.

Habibi is truly an epic story. It’s main thread is the development of the relationship between the two main characters – Dodola and Zam (aka Habibi) as Zam grows from baby to man. Around this central theme of two sometimes separated but still intertwined lives, the pages loop through history and time via Dodola’s magical stories that encompass religion, numbers, calligraphy and much more. Dodola and Zam live in a harsh and abusive world, this is not a book for children, but their love for each other shines through the darkness and leads them to an ending that is delicately optimistic.

I consider myself incredibly lucky to have been at the London launch of Habibi. Not least because I had the opportunity to speak to Craig while he drew a picture of Dodola for me – he was extraordinarily generous with his time.

My only regret is that I only bought one book at the launch. Drats – I could have had a signed copy of Blankets as well! I am hoping that Craig Thompson will visit London again to launch his next book so that I can remedy this situation.


  1. You were at the London launch of Habibi???? I only discovered Craig Thompson's Blankets last year and have been saving up for the Habibi hardback. His art is so beautiful and the storytelling is brilliant. It made me want to do something similar. Which will be difficult given that my drawing is a million miles from the Craig Thompson league.

    1. It is worth keeping an eye on the Comica events - that's how I heard about Craig Thompson and Habibi. I was lucky to get my book signed. He spent so long with each of us that many people had to leave to catch their trains or buses before they met him. I was next to Nadia Shireen in the queue so had entertaining company while I waited.