At the 2010 Naguib Mahfouz Medal ceremony, AUC Press Director Mark Linz produced a freshly printed copy of Amina Zaydan’s Red Wine (AUC Press, 2010). Zaydan’s book, which won the medal back in 2007, was initially scheduled for English-language publication in 2008.
But the translated Red Wine—Zaydan’s second book—just became available this month.
Unfortunately, extra production time has not meant a smooth English version of this compelling and complex novel. The translation has too many strangely turned-out sentences, which mimic the Arabic but fail to clearly express the essence of the prose.
The awkward wording is particularly noticeable in the novel’s opening section, or “overture,” when the reader is plunged into a number of times and places: the Suez conflict, the death of the narrator’s mother years later, the narrator’s failed marriage.
Other reviews (by other people) of other recently released novels:
Fi kol osbu’ youm Gomaa (In Every Week There is a Friday), by Ibrahim Abdel-Meguid. Reviewed on Ahram Online by Hanin Hanafi.
Kitabat nawbat al-hirassa (Writings of the security shift): the Letters of Abdelhakim Qassim, ed. Mohammad Shoair.
Reviewed by Youssef Rakha in Al Ahram Weekly.