The Arab of the Future by Riad Sattouf

An internationally acclaimed #1 French bestseller, Riad Sattouf’s unforgettable story of a childhood spent in the shadow of Muammar Gaddafi, Hafez al-Assad—and his own father

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.

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; it also introduces a master cartoonist in a work destined to stand as a classic of graphic memoir.



An Excerpt from The Arab of the Future by Riad Sattouf

Riad Sattouf Interviews

Riad Sattouf interviewed on NPR's Fresh Air

Riad Sattouf interviewed on NPR's Morning Edition

Praise for The Arab of the Future by Riad Sattouf

“As the very young Riad Sattouf navigates life in Libya, France, and Syria, he gets a serious education in the mysterious vectors of power that shape not just the political world, but the intimate sphere of his own family. With charming yet powerful drawings and vivid sensory details, Sattouf delivers a child's-eye view of the baffling adult world in all its complexity, corruption, and delusion. This is a beautiful, funny, and important graphic memoir."

— Alison Bechdel, author of Fun Home

“Seriously funny and penetratingly honest, Riad Sattouf tells the epic story of his eccentric and troubled family. Written with tenderness, grace, and piercing clarity, The Arab of the Future is one of those books that transcend their form to become a literary masterpiece."

— Michel Hazanavicius, director of The Artist

The Arab of the Future is a beautifully cartooned story that is both modern and timeless. The protagonist is one of the most endearing in comics. An important book, not just as art but as a window into another culture."

— Gene Luen Yang, author of American Born Chinese

“Exquisitely illustrated, and filled with experiences of misfortune bordering on the farcical, Mr. Sattouf’s book is a disquieting yet essential read."

The New York Times

“The Arab of the Future has become that rare thing in France’s polarized intellectual climate: an object of consensual rapture, hailed as a masterpiece in the leading journals of both the left and the right.... it has, in effect, made Sattouf the Arab of the present in France."

The New Yorker

The Arab of the Future confirms Riad Sattouf's place among the greatest cartoonists of his generation."

Le Monde

“Very funny and very sad . . . the social commentary here is more wistful and melancholy than sharp-edged . . . subtly written and deftly illustrated, with psychological incisiveness and humor."

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Sattouf's account of his childhood is a deeply personal recollection of a peripatetic youth that can resonate with audiences across the world. It also paints an incisive picture of the Arab world in the late 1970s and early 1980s that sets the stage for the revolutionary changes that would grip and roil the region decades later."

Foreign Policy

“Wide-eyed, yet perceptive, the book documents the wanderings of [Sattouf's] mismatched parents-his bookish French mother and pan-Arabist father, Abdel-Razak Sattouf . . . often disquieting, but always honest."

France 24

“Despite his father's determination to integrate his son into Arab society, little Sattouf — with his long blond hair — never fully fits in, and this report reads like the curious pondering of an alien from another world. Caught between his parents, Sattouf makes the best of his situation by becoming a master observer and interpreter, his clean, cartoonish art making a social and personal document of wit and understanding."

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

About Riad Sattouf

Riad Sattouf

© Olivier Marty

Riad Sattouf is a bestselling cartoonist and filmmaker who grew up in Syria and Libya and now lives in Paris. The author of four comics series in France and a former contributor to the satirical publication Charlie Hebdo, Sattouf is now a weekly columnist for l’Obs. He also directed the films The French Kissers and Jacky in the Women’s Kingdom. The Arab of the Future, which has been translated into sixteen languages, is Sattouf’s first work to appear in English.


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