Looking at the Longlist on (Western) Christmas: Elias Khoury’s ‘Sinalcol’

Elias Khoury’s Sinalcol is one of the few titles on the longlist for the 2013 International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF) that already has been translated into French (available next month, trans. Rania Samara) and will soon be released in English in both the UK and US:

sinalcolQuercus and Archipelago will, this time, share a Humphrey Davies translation of the book. While they had united for the classic Gate of the Sunfor Khoury’s Yalo and As Though She Were Sleeping,  each house had done their own translation. While I found this really interesting and wonderful, I assume it was not very economical.

Although the longlist has several stars of Arabic writing, Khoury is perhaps the author with the most international accolades: He has been mentioned for the Nobel Prize for Literature with some regularity and has won dozens of other literary awards. It was surprisingly not to see him on the inaugural IPAF shortlist for his brilliant 2007 novel, As Though She Were Sleeping. But he is here now, with Sinalcol. According to a publisher’s summary:

Nasri is a pharmacist in Beirut who lives alone with her two children, Karim and Nassim. The first, a medical student, is active in leftist circles under the nom de guerre “Sinalcol” (a nickname derived from “alcohol-free” in Spanish), while the second is Phalangist. The two brothers are in love with Hind, who is enamored of Karim. But eventually, after the departure of the latter to France, she marries Nassim. Their history is born of other stories that intertwine to form an imposing fresco of Lebanese society over the past fifty years.

Khoury with Davies at the AUC's Oriental Hall.
Khoury with Davies at the AUC’s Oriental Hall.

A great number of pixels have been spilled about Khoury on this site. So, Merry Christmas and here are a few of them:

ArabLit’s Jennifer Sears has written an overview of Khoury’s work: Elias Khoury: A Writer’s Journey

By ArabLit, an Elias Khoury talk at the AUC with translator Humphrey Davies and filmmaker Yousry Nasrallah: Elias Khoury on Why the Greatest Authors Are Invisible

From an interview with Andre Naffis Sahely: Humphrey Davies on Tahrir, Elias Khoury in an Undershirt, and ‘Mentally Gratifying’ Reads

ArabLit’s Mohga Hassib interviewed Khoury this year: Elias Khoury on Writing About Torture, and an Author’s Relationship to His Characters

Also by Hassib, another talk at the AUC: Elias Khoury on Looking at the Arab Spring Through the Eyes of Children