Our fifth list of 10 for public libraries comes from acclaimed translator and academic Hosam Aboul-Ela:
For these lists-of-ten, ArabLit is asking scholars, critics, authors, translators, and other bibliocentrics about the Arabic Literature in translation they would recommend for US’s public libraries. Eventually, this will build to a list of 100 book-buying recommendations. Having searched a number of public-library systems, we’ve decided there is no particular need to recommend Arabic’s only Nobel literature laureate Naguib Mahfouz. Anything else is fair game.
Aboul-Ela is an associate professor at the University of Houston, where he teaches courses in postcolonial literature, literary theory, and American literature. He has translated Voices by Soleiman Fayyad (1993), Distant Train by Ibrahim Abdel Meguid (2007), and Stealth (2014) by Sonallah Ibrahim, and most recently brought out the compelling Domestications: American Empire, Literary Culture, and the Postcolonial Lens. He is also the series editor of “The Arab List” at Seagull Books.
Aboul-Ela adds, as a caveat to his list, that were they still in print, he would also have: Sonallah Ibrahim’s Zaat, Abdallah Laroui’s The Crisis of the Arab Intellectual, and Fadwa Tuqan’s A Mountainous Journey.
1. Adonis’s An Introduction to Arabic Poetics, translated by Catherine Cobham
2. Leila Sebbar, Sherazade, translated by Dorothy Blair
3. Mahmoud Darwish, If I Were Another, translated by Fady Joudah
4. Gamal al-Ghitani, Zayni Barakat, translated by Farouk Abdel Wahab
5. Mohammed Abed al-Jabri, Arab Islamic Philosophy a Contemporary Critique, translated by Aziz Abbassi
6. Ghassan Kanafani, Palestine’s Children: Returning to Haifa and Other Stories, translated by Barbara Harlow and Karen E. Riley
7. Abdelrahman Munif, Cities of Salt, translated by Peter Theroux
8. Arwa Salih, The Stillborn, translated by Samah Selim
9. Latifa al-Zayyat, The Open Door, translated by Marilyn Booth
10. Khaled Ziadeh, Neighborhood and Boulevard, translated by Samah Selim
The previous lists: