A Game for Swallows: To Die, To Leave, To Return
by Zeina Abirached
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Pub Date 02 Aug 2022 | Archive Date 05 Jul 2022
Lerner Publishing Group, Graphic Universe ™
The city of Beirut is cut in two, separated by bricks and sandbags and threatened by snipers and shelling. East Beirut is for Christians, and West Beirut is for Muslims. When Zeina's parents don't return one afternoon, the neighbors in her apartment house create a world indoors for Zeina and her brother, sharing cooking lessons, games, and gossip. Together they try to make it through the day in the one place they hoped would always be safe—home. This expanded edition of the acclaimed graphic memoir features a new, illustrated afterword, as Abirached reflects on the meaning of her memoir's title, the graffiti that inspired it, and the future of Beirut.
Reviews for A Game of Swallows
"Bold, graphic, black-and-white images are visually and emotionally striking.... This superb memoir is destined to become a classic." --starred, School Library Journal
"As she puts an accessible face on a foreign culture through her characters, Abirached also distinguishes her piece with striking and unique design work. Her use of heavily contrasted black-and-white spaces, as well as elegant flourishes like crowding an anxious room with ticks and tocks, suggests an impressive new talent following in the footsteps of an established master." --Booklist
"Abirached’s readers will instantly empathize with those who do not readily have access to simple luxuries many take for granted—running water, electricity or the simple return of our loved ones from an outing—and this may perhaps spur them to re-examine what they may have otherwise overlooked.
Quietly mesmerizing and thought-provoking." --Kirkus Reviews
"Abirached's b&w inks offer a stark contrast in hard, geometric patterns that make images at once abstract and fully representative of her childhood memories. The characters, despite their cartoonish nature, show a variety of emotions, and Abirached's gift for pacing makes tense moments appropriately full of anxiety. It is as often the space she leaves empty as the drawings themselves that tell the story—and each detail offered provides insight into the horrors of growing up in a war zone. A winner for young readers and adults alike." --Publishers Weekly