By Riad Sattouf, translated by Sam Taylor. Published by Macmillan.
Softcover, 288 pages, Colour, 2019.
The penultimate installment in the bestselling French graphic memoir series—hailed as “exquisitely illustrated” and “irresistible”—covering the years of Riad Sattouf’s adolescence, from 1987-1992.
In the fourth volume of The Arab of the Future, little Riad has grown into a teenager. In the previous books, his childhood was complicated by the pull of his two cultures—French and Syrian—and his parents’ deteriorating relationship. Now his father, Adbel-Razak, has left to take a job in Saudi Arabia, and after making a pilgrimage to Mecca, turns increasingly towards religion. But after following him from place to place and living for years under the harsh conditions of his impoverished village, Riad’s mother Clementine has had enough. Refusing to live in a country where women have no rights, she returns with her children to live in France with her own mother… until Abdel-Razak shows up unexpectedly to drag the family on yet another journey.
As the series builds to a climax, we see Riad struggle with problems both universal (bullies at school) and specific (his mother’s sudden illness, the judgment of his religious relatives). And as Abdel-Razak returns again to the same fantastical dreams he pursued in previous books, we see him become more and more unhinged, until ultimately he crosses the line from idealism to fanaticism, leading to a dramatic breaking point.
Full of the same gripping storytelling and lush visual style for which Sattouf’s previous works have won numerous awards, The Arab of the Future 4continues the saga of the Sattouf family and their peripatetic life in France and the Middle East.
"Brilliant, sensational and heartbreaking, The Arab of the Future 4 hits all the high and low notes without skipping a beat, setting up a thrilling conclusion to the series."
"Struck through with moments of terrible violence and subtle revelation, The Arab of the Future will be regarded as a vital text for future generations eager to understand the vastly complex and often brutal landscape of the Middle East at the close of the 20th century."