Best 100 Arabic Books (According to the Arab Writers Union): 41-50

This is where you’ll find 1-10 (and an explanation of this project), and here’s 11-20, 21-30, and 31-40. Please do help me out with errors and omissions.

41 The Heron, by the Egyptian author Ibrahim Aslan, translated by Elliot Colla and published by AUC Press.

Read the eloquent Baheyya’s homage to Aslan here.

42 Gate of the Sun, by the Lebanese author Elias Khoury, translated by Humphrey Davies and published by Archipelago.

43 Latin Quarter, by the Lebanese author Suhail Idriss.

Banipal has an obituary for Idriss in 31, although I could find none of Idriss’ stories in the magazine. I did find one in Salma Khadra Jayysusi’s Modern Arabic Fiction: An Anthology.

44 Return of the Soul, by the Egyptian Tawfiq al-Hakim.

Here we have the first mention of (the great, great, great) Tawfiq al-Hakim, who unfortunately died the year before the “Arab” Nobel was handed out. It looks like Return of the Soul was translated as Return of the Spirit by William Hutchins and published by Three Continents Press in 1991. It must be out of print, but it looks to be available.

Certainly, you should acquire The Essential Tawfiq al-Hakim, edited by Denys Johnson-Davies and published by AUC Press. Three Continents Press also put out a short-story collection by al-Hakim, In the Tavern of Life and Other Stories.

45 The Hostage, by Yemeni novelist Zayd Mutee Dammaj.

This novel was translated by May Jayyusi and C. Tingley and published by Interlink. It’s perhaps the only Yemeni novel I’ve read, but a good one.

46 The Game of Forgetting, by the Moroccan author Mohammed Berrada. The novel was published by Quartet Books in 1987, as translated by Issa Boullata.

Berrada’s Like a Summer Never to Be Repeated apparently came out from AUC Press last year, translated by Christina Phillips, although somehow I missed it.

47 Winter Wind, by Moroccan writer Mubarak Al-Rabih.

Winter Wind is talked about in The Modern Arabic Novel: Bibliography and Critical Introduction, 1865-1995, by Hamdi Sakkut, but I can’t find any work by Al-Rabih in English.

48 Return to Dar al-Basha, by the Tunisian author Hassan Nasrallah, was translated by William Hutchins and published by Syracuse University Press.

49 The Windy City, by Mauritanian Moussa Ould Ebnou, was originally published in French in 1994 as Barzakh. An Arabic version by the author, titled Madinat al-Riyah, appeared in 1996.

Neither Barzakh nor The Windy City has been translated into English, as far as I can tell.

50 The Seven days of Man, by Egyptian Abdel-Hakim Qasim was translated by Joseph Bell and published by Northwestern University Press.

Also, Qasim’s Rites of Assent: Two Novellas, were translated by Peter Theroux with an introduction by Samia Mehrez, and published by Temple University Press.

You can see the best 100 Spanish-language novels (of the last 25 years) here. The list was complied by 80 writers, literary critics and journalists. A cursory glance shows it to be more…easily understandable than this list (the narrower time frame probably helps). Insha’allah, 51-60 tomorrow.

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