Habibi is a graphic novel by Craig Thompson published by Pantheon in September 2011.
The 672-page book is set in a fictional Islamic fairytale landscape, and depicts the relationship between Dodola and Zam, two escaped child slaves, who are torn apart and undergo many transformations as they grow into new names and new bodies, which prove to be obstacles to their love when they later reunite. The book's website describes its concept thus as a love story and a parable about humanity's relationship to the natural world that explores such themes as the cultural divide between the first and third worlds, the common heritage of Christianity and Islam. The book has received mixed reviews. While it has been lauded by publications such as Time, Elle, Salon, NPR and reviewers in general for the beauty of its visual design and the rendition of its epic setting, it has also been criticized for its treatment of sexuality, and its depiction of Arabs and Arab culture.
Habibi takes place in the present day, albeit in a fictional "Orientalist landscape", which Thompson conceived in order to create a sprawling fairy tale that would allow him to depict a clash of the old world and the new, while allowing him to avoid depicting guns or warfare. While it is located in an Islamic country and features such elements as Arabic writing, Thompson is reluctant to say that it takes place in the Middle East, preferring to emphasize that it is a mythical landscape, and that the characters vaguely Muslim as a result of the context in which they grew up. Thompson explains that he borrowed elements from different geographies, and infused them with the elements that he wanted. The book intersperses stories drawn from the Koran with the main narrative that follows Dodola, a young girl who, despite being intelligent and literate, is prized for her beauty, and the younger Zam, a boy whose guilt-ridden relationship with his surrogate mother leads to destructive choices