Pantheon, $35.00, 672 pages
Comparing religions is always fun. Habibi is a mix between love story and allegory. A slave girl adopts a boy in order to save his life. She eventually escapes, taking him with her into the desert where she begins telling him stories to instruct him. Eventually they are separated, with her being consigned to a harem and he becomes a eunuch. They eventually come back together, having become romantic partners, despite having different goals. All in all it is a very complicated romance, but one that eventually works itself out.
The allegory aspect is that the story shows what Islam can be and how it meshes with Christianity in general. The two religions have been called brothers, and this book shows why. Between the romance and the allegorical elements it makes for a very beautiful, very complicated book. However, how it decides to show this is through the problems that religion in and of itself can cause while at the same time showing that it can bind people together. This book definitely comes highly recommended, but it is definitely for mature readers.