“Reading Oh, Salaam! today, the first English translation of Barakat’s acclaimed and award-winning work as a novelist, is an occasion to reconsider how to grieve, how to mourn, and to identify and confront, head on, the destructive impulses that humans, predatory as rats as we can be, have the capacity to reinvent.”
“In the French version the pages are not numbered. I wanted the reader to start the book anywhere.”
Lebanese writer Najwa Barakat has written six novels since 1986. Over the past ten years, her work has been garnering increased critical acclaim. But in that time, Barakat hasn’t focused only on her own work: From a short essay-interview in Qantara: If… Read More ›
” In Syria there is something harsher going on, something even more destructive. I think it will add a tragic dimension — in the strongest sense of the word — to Syrian literature.”
“…it’s a fast-paced, novella-length work, reminiscent of Muriel Spark’s ‘Driver’s Seat’, both for its black humor and for the way its characters slide precipitously into danger.”
“There are a lot of advantages to writing in a European language, but I will continue to write in Arabic. Whether recognition comes or not, my world is the Arab world.”
“War destroyed the mainstream ethics which were generated by the ruling [Maronite] political power. It gave voice to underground Beirut, the peripheral areas.”
“While she made the choice of French…the rhythms and tropes of Arabic, its poetry and its oral traditions, can still be heard in the undulations of her sentences, her poems’ sinuous and knotty lines.”
MARCH continues to troll Lebanon’s censorship bureau with frustrating and funny results.
This is the first year siblings have been on the International Prize for Arabic Fiction longlist together.
Jabbour Douaihy on the IPAF: “As with all growth, there are some too-hasty writings, but there’s also a great, diverse, and exciting expression of Arab reality, and as time passes the wheat will be separated from the chaff.”
Antoine Douaihy on writing: “A single lifetime isn’t enough for this kind of calling. Really, you would need several.”