Book Review: ‘Habibi’ by Craig Thompson

Book: Habibi by Craig Thompson
Reviews by: Nolan

It’s been about seven years since we’ve seen a new work penned and inked by graphic novelist Craig Thompson.  But after reading his new release, Habibi, it’s clear to see this was no period of writer’s block, but seven years of care and nourishment into 650+ pages of a work that is unprecedented and stunningly gorgeous.

My only prior experience with Thompson’s work is his much acclaimed Blankets, an autobiographical coming of age tale of first love and loss.  I was quite impressed with the illustrious flow of the drawings, but I found the story to be lacking reflection and there was too much narrative focus, something I’m skeptic about with most memoirs.  But it is in fiction that Thompson has arrived masterfully.

Habibi tells the story of two lost souls who continuously save each other and give hope in a world of crime, hate, filth, and rape.  Mixed beautifully with tales of lore and religion, relying heavily on the Qur’an, Habibi shows an incredible amount of growth in story telling by Thompson since 2003’s Blankets.  And his illustrating skills have grown just as equally, transforming a talented penman into an artist of vision that may not be matched in the graphic novel world today.

Inspiring and imaginative, sad and beautiful, tender and violent, innocent and adult, Habibi is wonderful and stunning book that demands attention.  Open it to any page and one cannot help but see why, in a world of e-readers, books still need to exist.

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