riad-sattouf-arab-of-the-futureCaptivating, compelling and informative is how I’d describe this graphic memoir from Riad Saffouf, translated into English by Sam Taylor.

Using his voice as a child Saffouf deals with topics such as the regional tensions between Jews and Arabs, America and the Western Influence, the madness of Gaddafi, racism in France and the general treatment of women. One might think that it’s a heavy read, but the format is ingenious and powerful.

We get glimpses of how Libya and Syria were as Riad grew up, the stresses on Riad’s father as he tried to live the life between what was expected of him and what he was capable of. There are chilling scenes such as the treatment of a dog or how the children treat each other, even playing at war between Jews and Arabs.

The cartoons are enjoyable, make you laugh whilst not taking you away from the view of life in the Arab world in the 1970’s, a world that set the stage for today’s situation.

It was thanks to Federico Andornino at Two Roads that I came across this important book and I am so glad he brought it to my attention. I heartily recommend it

Sheila O’Reilly

Arab of the Future/£18.99/9781473638112