A Game For Swallows, A Lebanese Civil War Story, is a Must Read

Graphic Universe is eager to share with you the upcoming release of a fascinating new graphic novel called A Game For Swallows by Lebanese author and illustrator Zeina Abirached.

The Junior Library Guild selection powerfully depicts Ms. Abirached experiences growing up during Lebanon’s civil war between Muslims and Christians. Ms. Abirached, born into a Lebanese Christian family, has crafted a remarkable true story that takes place on a single day in the 1980s. Although the Lebanese Civil War lasted fifteen years, from 1975-1990, Ms. Abirached’s dramatic depiction of a day of fighting and shelling perfectly signifies the whole conflict, as if that day is lasting years. Separated between East Beirut (Christians) and West Beirut (Muslims) Lebanon’s capital is in disarray. When young Abirached’s parents are stranded across town she and her brother must pull together with others in the neighborhood to remain safe.

Although some have drawn parallels to Ms. Abirached’s book with Iranian Marjane Satrap’s famous work Persepolis, Ms. Abirached’s book diverges from Ms. Satrapi’s in several fundamental ways. For one, A Game For Swallows tone and humor is markedly different. And substantively the two stories vary widely. While Swallows concerns Ms. Abirached’s childhood in war-torn Lebanon, Ms. Satrapi’s Persepolis depicts the Iranian Islamic Revolution. Of course, they are entirely different events, concerning totally different circumstances. Lastly, A Game for Swallows is strictly written in a child’s voice, taking place on a lone day during which time Ms. Abirached witnesses events firsthand. On the other hand, Persepolis’ story stretches across several years, from the author’s childhood to adulthood, and depicts both firsthand experiences and general events during the Iranian revolution.

Given A Game For Swallow’s graphic beauty and powerful story we have every reason to believe readers will gain a new appreciation and knowledge about this region’s historic conflict and what individuals and their communities had to do to survive.