In this brilliantly original debut graphic novel that imagines a fantastical Cairo where wishes really do come true, Deena Mohamed brings to life a cast of characters whose struggles and triumphs are heartbreaking, inspiring, and deeply resonant.
Shubeik Lubeik—a fairy tale rhyme that means “your wish is my command” in Arabic—is the story of three people who are navigating a world where wishes are literally for sale. Mired in bureaucracy and the familiar prejudices of our world, the wishes are more likely to work as intended the more expensive they are.
Three wishes that are sold at an unassuming kiosk in Cairo link Aziza, Nour, and Shokry, changing their perspectives as well as their lives. Aziza learned early that life can be hard, but when she loses her husband and manages to procure a wish, she finds herself fighting bureaucracy and inequality for the right to have—and make—that wish. Nour is a privileged college student who secretly struggles with depression and must decide whether or not to use their wish to try to “fix” this depression, and then figure out how to do it. And, finally, Shokry must grapple with his religious convictions as he decides how to help a friend who doesn’t want to use their wish.
Although their stories are fantastical—featuring talking donkeys, dragons, and cars that can magically avoid traffic—each of these people grapples with the very real challenge of trying to make their most deeply held desires come true.
“Shubeik Lubeik is easily the most subversive book I've read in decades! Deena Mohamed has much to say about the human condition, but she does so with effortless grace. Superb cartooning, and brimming with intelligence both emotional and intellectual—all while maintaining an incredible sense of humor—Shubeik Lubeik embodies the holy grail of comix-making that few graphic novels have ever managed to achieve. A wonderous accomplishment and important addition to the culture.” —Ganzeer, author/artist of The Solar Grid