If only I have a pillow by the river. Love reading in a relaxing environment, though it's often hard to do it. Most of my readings are done at airports...
The drawing in this book is really gorgeous. Nearly every page contains beautifully drawn scriptures, curves or patterns. They make you stop reading the plot here and there just to appreciate these beautifully drawn details.
The story is also very touching. Dodola, forced to be married at 9 years old, was later sold after her husband dies 3 years later. She adopted the 3 year old Zam, a black boy and lived in the dessert with him. She traded sex with caravans across the dessert for food. While Zam is in charge of finding water. By accident, Zam witnessed what Dodola did for survival and vowed to sell water to provide food for both of them. Unfortunately Dodola was kidnapped by a harem King and Dodola was starved nearly to death. Dodola became an eunuch to make a living and was kidnapped to serve in the same harem King to serve all the women there. Zam saved Dodola just as she was commanded to be drowned by the harem king. They struggled to make a living and after much struggle, including Dodola battle to recover from the drowning injury and Zam attempting suicide to deal with his castration, they adopted another small black girl and decided to start a new life together.
See, I recalled all the story. They are presented in Craig Thompson's special flowing way. You feel the story is flowing and the pages are turned one after another before you even realized it.
Yes, there are many many pages containing Dodola forced to have sex with caravan and harem king. I bet there are more pages with Dodola's bare breast than not. But it does not feel pretentious. It just tells a very hard life story for her.
I only give it 4 star because of the plentiful religion references from Christianity and Muslim. The author kind of blends the two religion's stories and quotes together to form a fictional unified religion. I understand religion and belief are always an important part of the author's works. But it's taking so much pages that I think it's kind of distracting to the real story -- like not all the references are really useful for the progress of the whole story. The balance between religion and story is not as well handled as in Blankets.
But in sum, it's definitely a recommended read.