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A Game for Swallows: To Die, To Leave, To Return (2007)

by Zeina Abirached

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2561178,657 (3.83)14
Living in the midst of civil war in Beirut, Lebanon, Zeina and her brother face an evening of apprehension when their parents do not return from a visit to the other side of the city.
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» See also 14 mentions

English (8)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (11)
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
The black & white artwork in this autobiographical graphic novel is impressive, particularly at the opening where the author uses stark contrast & abstraction to create the wartime Lebanon of her childhood. Zeina & her brother live with their parents in an apartment overlooking the demarcation line btw East Beirut (Christian) & West Beirut (Muslim). Powerful images underscore the matter-of-fact tone as Zeina describes her parents route to visit her grandmother: "Crossing the handful of streets between us meant following complicated and perilous choreography." (p. 17). It is this potent contrast between the child's voice & the dire circumstances she describes that absolves some of the choppiness of the narrative. While the children await their parents' return, they retreat to their foyer, the safest place in the building during bombing while neighbors trickle in with food, stories & solace.

So, even as the parents return & all resume life amid civil war, the reader is left with the dual taste of the kindness of others & the banality of war. Given current circumstances in Syria & other countries similarly fraught, this title might provide a glimpse of circumstances for those not yet ready to read Satrapi's outstanding "Persepolis."

( )
  msmilton | Jul 18, 2018 |
The black & white artwork in this autobiographical graphic novel is impressive, particularly at the opening where the author uses stark contrast & abstraction to create the wartime Lebanon of her childhood. Zeina & her brother live with their parents in an apartment overlooking the demarcation line btw East Beirut (Christian) & West Beirut (Muslim). Powerful images underscore the matter-of-fact tone as Zeina describes her parents route to visit her grandmother: "Crossing the handful of streets between us meant following complicated and perilous choreography." (p. 17). It is this potent contrast between the child's voice & the dire circumstances she describes that absolves some of the choppiness of the narrative. While the children await their parents' return, they retreat to their foyer, the safest place in the building during bombing while neighbors trickle in with food, stories & solace.

So, even as the parents return & all resume life amid civil war, the reader is left with the dual taste of the kindness of others & the banality of war. Given current circumstances in Syria & other countries similarly fraught, this title might provide a glimpse of circumstances for those not yet ready to read Satrapi's outstanding "Persepolis."

( )
  msmilton | Jul 18, 2018 |
Reminded me too much of Persepolis and wasn't nearly as well written. ( )
  gossamerchild88 | Mar 30, 2018 |
This graphic novel is great for both middle and young adult readers. It is a recollection of events from the author’s childhood that are a representation of the struggle of people and families during the Lebanese Civil War. The illustrator uses stylized black and white illustrations that are very intense. The font was a bit obtrusive to reading, but it was stylized to match to imagery and worked for the overall appearance of the book. The illustrations of the streets and roadblocks were very impactful, so was the dramatic ending. This graphic novel clearly illustrates the strength of community during even the hardest times. ( )
  clockwork_serenity | Jan 23, 2016 |
This graphic novel is great for both middle and young adult readers. It is a recollection of events from the author’s childhood that are a representation of the struggle of people and families during the Lebanese Civil War. The illustrator uses stylized black and white illustrations that are very intense. The font was a bit obtrusive to reading, but it was stylized to match to imagery and worked for the overall appearance of the book. The illustrations of the streets and roadblocks were very impactful, so was the dramatic ending. This graphic novel clearly illustrates the strength of community during even the hardest times. ( )
  clockwork_serenity | Jan 23, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Zeina Abirachedprimary authorall editionscalculated
Gauvin, EdwardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Robbins, TrinaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ulrich, JohannHerausgebersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Living in the midst of civil war in Beirut, Lebanon, Zeina and her brother face an evening of apprehension when their parents do not return from a visit to the other side of the city.

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