The Arab of the Future 2: A Childhood in the Middle East, 1984 – 1985 by Riad Sattouf is an autobiographical graphic novel of the author’s childhood. Mr. Sattouf is a French artist, writer and director.
The Arab of the Future 2: A Childhood in the Middle East, 1984 – 1985 by Riad Sattouf is a wonderful second installment to this autobiographical series (see a review of the first installment). The story is funny when seen from the view point of a child (as it is told) but somewhat tragic when read from a more mature, worldly, perspective.
It is interesting what human beings remember, Riad looks different than his Syrian friends (blond) and is considered “Jewish”. He fondly remembers learning Arabic, but also his struggles with French which is his native tongue. The school has obviously made a huge impression on the author, as it does on every child, but in a foreign land, with no friends and a different way to uphold discipline (a whack on the hands with a stick) will certainly make everyone remember.
The strange relationship between the author’s parents is especially poignant. His French mother seems to except all their struggles without complaints (of course, as a child, he would not have been privy to such discussions between adults) and his father, while loving, seems to want his son to grow up the same way he did even though the world has changed tremendously.
A dilemma most parents struggles with.
The artwork is stylized, minimalist and works very well. At first it looks unrefined, but the more you read the graphic novel the artwork becomes more sophisticated and appropriate to the storytelling. I loved the honesty in this book, the author doesn’t hide much and doesn’t worry about seeming politically correct or politically sensitive while telling his story.
I’m looking forward to read more of the series sand more of this author.
Zohar — Man of la Book
Disclaimer: I got this book for free.
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