A Game for Swallows: To Die, To Leave, To Return

Expanded Edition

Age 12+

Comic Strip Fiction / Graphic Novels

A revitalized edition of a celebrated book, in which author-artist Zeina Abirached reflects, 10 years onward, about the experiences that shaped her graphic memoir and the future of her home city

The city of Beirut is cut in two, separated by bricks and sandbags and threatened by snipers and shelling. East Beirut is for Christians, and West Beirut is for Muslims. When Zeina's parents don't return one afternoon, the neighbors in her apartment house create a world indoors for Zeina and her brother, sharing cooking lessons, games, and gossip. Together they try to make it through the day in the one place they hoped would always be safe—home.

This expanded edition of the acclaimed graphic memoir features a new, illustrated afterword, as Abirached reflects on the meaning of her memoir's title, the graffiti that inspired it, and the future of Beirut.


Zeina Abirached was born in Beirut in the middle of the civil war. She studied graphic arts in Lebanon but moved to Paris in 2004, where she attended the National School of Decorative Arts. In 2006, she published her first two graphic novels with publisher Cambourakis, Beyrouth Catharsis and 38, Rue Youssef Semaani. Her short animated film Mouton was nominated during the fifth international film festival in Tehran. A Game For Swallows (Graphic Universe, Fall 2012) has won numerous awards, including being named an ALA Notable Children's Book and a YALSA Great Graphic Novel for Teens.

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