My judgement of O Árabe do Futuro is heavily influenced by the fact that it is the first literary work I have ever read in Portuguese. Having only an elementary grasp of the language, I could understand just about half of the written words. Thankfully, since it is a graphic autobiography, I was able to work out the meaning from the contextual illustrations. Besides, the topic is about life in Libya and Syria from the late 70s to the mid-80s, a period and countries I am familiar with.
For a student of Portuguese, this is an ideal book to help one become more familiar with the language, specifically the past and present tenses. The pictures’ captions have the narrator (Riad Sattouf) speaking about the past while the speech bubbles contain the characters’ conversations in the present. If it fails on the level of story-telling, it definitely succeeds as a language learner’s assistant.