This No.1 French bestseller tells the story of the author’s formative years spent in the shadows of three dictators: Muammar Gaddafi, Hafez al-Assad – and his father.
Capturing the immediacy of innocence and the fervour of political idealism, Sattouf recounts his nomadic childhood growing up in rural France, Gaddafi’s Libya and Assad’s Syria as his Pan-Arabist father drags the 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.
Brimming with life and dark humour, The Arab of the Future reveals the truth and texture of one eccentric family in an absurd Middle East, and introduces to English readers a master cartoonist and a work destined to stand alongside Maus and Persepolis.
“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
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 and weekly columns in the satirical publication Charlie Hebdo and L’Obs, he also directed the films The French Kissers and Jacky in the Women’s Kingdom. The Arab of the Future is his first work to appear in English and is out now in paperback from Two Roads. Read more.
Author portrait © Olivier Marty