Although Antoine and Jabbour Douaihy have both been previously longlisted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF), this is the first year siblings have been on the longlist together:
Jabbour has been previously shortlisted twice, for June Rain and The Vagrant. The books have made waves both in Arabic and beyond: The English translation of the beautifully constructed June Rain was “highly commended” by this year’s Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation, while the French translation of The Vagrant won the 2013 ‘Prix de la Jeune Litterature Arabe.’
Antoine — the older brother by a year — was longlisted for the IPAF for the first time last year, for his The Bearer of the Purple Rose, which ArabLit reviewer Mayyasi described as a novel of tyranny and solitude. The novel, she writes, “moves us strongly to consider whether shying away from engaging in any talk of politics, the decision taken by the writer from the beginning of his life, is a sufficient precaution to avoid getting swept up in political matters.”
This year, Jabbour is on the longlist with his sweeping novel The American Neighborhood and Antoine with his highly personal Drowning in Lake Morez.
Jabbour wrote in email that “we are not, of course, the Goncourt brothers; we differ in style and his approach is a meditative focus on the inner life, while I tend to write a more social-realist literature.”
As for being longlisted together, Jabbour described it as “amazing.”