The Next Bestseller Translated from the Arabic Will Be…

No, I don't think this will be the cover.

No, I don’t really know. Not only do I lack fortune-telling skills (nothing in the bottom of my Nescafe mug!), I have relatively little publishing-business sense.

But I imagine that Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is putting their money on Revolution 2.0, to be written by Wael Ghonim, translated by (?), and edited by HMH publisher Bruce Nichols. Nichols, presumably, will take a firm hand in shaping the narrative.

It seems that they’re targeting the Three Cups of Tea demographic:

REVOLUTION 2.0 is the story of how the revolution came about with the power of social media and internet technology. Ghonim also tells an inspirational story of how anyone can be empowered to change the world starting from his belief that the “power of the people is stronger than the people in power.”

According to the news release, Ghonim’s book will be published on Jan. 25, 2012.

Meanwhile, I’ll be looking for more of this:

Banipal40 has, in addition to a host of Libyan fiction, an excerpt from Abdelkarim Jouiti’s IPAF-longlisted كتيبة الخراب.

The excerpt, translated by Piers Amodia, is titled “The Danish Tree.” It follows a low-level municipal employee of a small Moroccan town as he receives a bequest of a ficus tree on behalf of the city. The excerpt is clear, the setting vivid, the passage shaped both by the story of the tree and by the narrator’s thoughts about Oscar Wilde’s “The Picture of Dorian Gray.”

Part of what I enjoyed about the passage was the connection made between the narrator and the tree:

What could it bring to a city where impatient landowners and businessmen complained of the inability of science to invent an effective means to dispose of trees quickly and quietly? They had tried cutting off the water supply, bleach, washing powder, machine oil, lime, lighting forest fires in the night and stripping the bark. Yet the agony of the trees continued, as did the anger of the landowners. What significance could it bring to a city which had begun to see trees as lost housing space? Was the tree now feeling the same sense of loss and sadness that human beings feel when thrown into some unknown place? Or was it still young and, like a child, unable to appreciate the seriousness of its fate?