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What would life feel like without fear and oppression? Is it possible to find solace in the power of chosen family, underground art collectives, and ultimately revolution?


Set in Beirut, Lebanon, a city once known to be a vibrant cultural center of the region. It's 30 years after the end of the civil war, and a few months before the disastrous explosion of August 2020. Samar, a young queer comic book artist, wanders between anguished dreams, childhood memories, romantic experiences, and Beirut's alternative communities. This abstractly autobiographical story tells of the author's anxiety over living in a complex city of changing colors and moods. Three powerful themes: art, sex, and political uprising, are interwoven in a compelling narrative and an otherworldly color palette.


About the Author

Joseph Kai is a queer artist from Beirut, Lebanon. He has published several works with the Lebanese collective of BD Samandal Comics. Joseph has participated in numerous festivals and exhibitions in Beirut, Lebanon; Berlin, Germany; Brussels, Belgium; and both Angouleme and Paris, France. He is currently living and working in Paris. This is his debut graphic novel.

"Kai's palette of shimmering oranges, purples, and blues lends a surrealist grace to comics art that render Samar's desultory mood mixed with flashes of hope. Veering away from pat resolutions, this intense but rewarding work heralds a new international talent to watch." --Publishers Weekly


"Sexy, inventive, and thoroughly beautiful. Shifting focus elegantly among dreamlike sequences of the surreal, and then grounding firmly in what is clearly a complex reality." --Lee Lai, author of Stone Fruit


"Shifting between dream and delusion, desire and defiance, this sensuous and sensitive tale sets Labanon's corrupted capital as a liminal backdrop." --Paul Gravett, author of Mangasia: The Definitive Guide to Asian Comics


"An absolutely stunning meditation on the anxieties of queer sex and of political revolution. Exploring the quiet tension of chosen family elegantly and precisely." --Shing Yin Khor, author of The Legend of Auntie Po, a National Book Award finalist


"Trippy, gorgeous, and alive with colors so vivid you feel like you can taste them. Dancing in the spaces that constitute queer urban existence with astounding exuberance." --Bishakh Som, author of Apsara Engine, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and Spellbound: A Graphic Memoir


"Mesmerizing colors and lines bring intimate insight into the risks of expressing non-normative gender and sexual orientation in an oppressive landscape." --Morgan Boecher, author of What's Normal Anyway?


"An innovative account of what it felt like to be a young lost soul in the Lebanese landscape." --Tracy Chahwan, author of Beirut Bloody Beirut


"With beautiful color palettes, the silent moments speak as loud as the narrative ones." --Lawrence Lindell, author of Blackward


"Beautifully and poetically capturing an uneasy feeling of longing and searching. And helping us to realize just how similar human experiences can be, despite seemingly vast cultural and geographic differences." --L. Nichols, author of Flocks



Publisher: Street Noise Books
Pub date: September 19, 2023
160 pages
Format: Paperback