As a side note in her piece about women and the Arabic Booker, Susannah Tarbush notes that Azazeel will be coming out from Atlantic Books in spring 2010. Another paper apparently pinpointed March, but I’ve heard no official word from Grove Atlantic.
Azazeel, by Youssef Ziedan, was the second winner of the Arabic Booker (2008-2009). Critic Youssef Rakha was ultimately disillusioned by the book, which makes the hairs on my neck prickle. I don’t want another historical novel with compelling themes, interesting story, and clear writing that ultimately fails its central characters, a la the 2007-2008 winner, Sunset Oasis.
The review from Bidoun is more cheering.
You can also look at Ziedan’s website, which makes available a number of rare manuscripts.
Translator Jonathan Wright apparently finished his part several months back; my queries to Atlantic have thus far gone unanswered. But Spring ’10 seems like a rich time: Elias Khoury’s White Masks will be out from Archipelago; Sonallah Ibrahim’s Stealth from Aflame, and the Beirut39 collection from Bloomsbury.
Arabic fiction in English is, after this last turbulent decade, seeing a surge.
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