The Arab of the Future

The Arab of the Future

A Graphic Memoir : A Childhood in the Middle East (1978-1984)

Graphic Novel - 2015
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"In striking, virtuoso graphic style that captures both the immediacy of childhood and the fervor of political idealism, Riad Sattouf recounts his nomadic childhood growing up in rural France, Gaddafi's Libya, and Assad's Syria--but always under the roof of his father, a Syrian Pan-Arabist who drags his family along in his pursuit of grandiose dreams for the Arab nation. Riad, delicate and wide-eyed, follows in the trail of his mismatched parents; his mother, a bookish French student, is as modest as his father is flamboyant. Venturing first to the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab State and then joining the family tribe in Homs, Syria, they hold fast to the vision of the paradise that always lies just around the corner. And hold they do, though food is scarce, children kill dogs for sport, and with locks banned, the Sattoufs come home one day to discover another family occupying their apartment. The ultimate outsider, Riad, with his flowing blond hair, is called the ultimate insult... Jewish. And in no time at all, his father has come up with yet another grand plan, moving from building a new people to building his own great palace. Brimming with life and dark humor, The Arab of the Future reveals the truth and texture of one eccentric family in an absurd Middle East, and also introduces a master cartoonist in a work destined to stand alongside Maus and Persepolis"--
Publisher: New York, New York :, Metropolitan Books, Henry Holt and Company, LLC,, 2015.
Edition: First U.S. edition.
Copyright Date: ©2015
ISBN: 9781627793445
Branch Call Number: GN SATT
Characteristics: 153 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: Taylor, Sam 1970-- Translator


From Library Staff

An autobiographical account of a nomadic childhood that spans rural France, Libya, and Syria as his family follows his father's pursuits of a paradise Arab State.

In the first a trilogy, Sattouf recounts his nomadic childhood growing up in Franch, Libya, and Syria as his father pursued various grand plans. He examines what life was like growing up with an eccentric family led by a father with increasingly larger dreams.

From the critics

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Feb 01, 2021

With a Syrian father and a French mother, famous cartoonist Riad Sattouf inks this nomadic childhood memoir about growing up in Libya and Syria. Although most of the book highlights the extreme cultural differences between the Arab world and western Europe, the young boy's relationship with his unique father plays a key role in the story.

Apr 30, 2020

A glimpse into what growing up in France, Libya, and Syria during the 70s and 80s was like. Fascinating insights into another culture.

Oct 23, 2019

just couldnot stop thinking about authors mother. what was she thinking about kids future when they were keep on moving to Syria, France, Libiya. it was a great eyeopner , i realized one thing kids start planning about future based on environment that they get in childhood. no wonder why all Syrians kids in the book always utter bad words! OMG!

This is a very illuminating look at early childhood in Libya and Syria. Yes, VERY different than a North American upbringing-the sometimes cruel and brutal environment climaxed in a very disturbing episode near the end of the book. BEWARE to animal lovers-I suggest you skip reading those few pages as the episode does not end well for the innocent little puppy. Not kidding.
But I really appreciated the author's honesty in portraying his father. The author did not filter his father's character through a modern western concept of morality. Rather, he portrayed his father realistically: judgemental, opinionated, yet protective and passionate as well.

Feb 07, 2018

I enjoyed this book very much ,I did not realise it was done in picture format as I booked it online . I probably would not have picked it in the library because of the drawings, but I am glad I did get it because it was very good .The mother came across as a bit weak to say the least but maybe in future books that will change as he is quite young when the book ends .

JCLChrisK Jul 24, 2017

A memoir that is as much about Sattouf's father as himself, and the semi-nomadic life his family lived during his early years (he is two when it opens). The elder Sattouf moved Riad and his French mother from France to Libya to France to Syria over the course of a few years, earning a living as a college professor. He is a character of wild contradictions of thought and action, and his family experiences many extremes of culture and lifestyle. Riad narrates through his young perspective, uncritically reporting on what he witnesses and letting words and actions speak for themselves largely without commentary. It's a fascinating story.

Cynthia_N Mar 15, 2017

A glimpse into a childhood that was very different than mine. Difficult to read at times but worth it for the view.

Sep 22, 2016

A fascinating look into 6 years of author Sattouf's childhood. Growing up the child of a French mother and a Syrian father, Sattouf lived in France, Libya, and Syria all in a rather short amount of time. It's an interesting look into the clash of cultures between his mother and father and a great glimpse into the Arab world of the late 70's and early 80's.

Aug 08, 2016

Brilliant bio-graphical novel. Similar pace and storytelling to Guy Delisle. The story centres around the father's perspective and how he views the world. Yet this window has an innocent pane, from which the narrator's 4 year old mind explains it to the reader. This book is relevant even today with all the geo-political issues originating from the Middle East and how the Arab of the Future turned out to be.

mallc May 25, 2016

An excellent and eye-opening look into 1970s Libya & Syria through the eyes of a child.

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