Coming in May: Books by Maya Abu al-Hayyat, Jokha Alharthi, Jabra Ibrahim Jabra & More

Book publication dates shift, and thus we are supplementing the annual list of forthcoming literature in translation with monthly lists, which we hope are more accurate. If you know of other works forthcoming this month, please add them in the comments or email us at info@arablit.org.

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Solitaire: A Novelby Hassouna Mosbahi, tr. William Maynard Hutchins

This novel takes readers into one day in the life of Yunus, a Tunisian professor of French and Flaubert specialist, recently retired and separated from his wife. Searching for solitude, Yunus leaves the capital to settle in the Tunisian coastal city of Nabeul, hoping to spend the remainder of his life among the books he loves. Then, on the day of his sixtieth birthday, Yunus plunges into a delayed midlife crisis as he reflects on the major moments in his life, from taking up writing as a young man to his career as a university professor to his failed marriage. Yunus’s identity crisis mirrors that of his Tunisian homeland with its tumultuous history of political and cultural upheaval. He meditates on the lives of his friends, drawing from his memory a colorful cast of characters whose experiences reflect the outsized influence of religion and tradition in their lives. 

Expected release: May 4, 2022.

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You Can Be the Last Leaf, Maya Abu al-Hayyat, tr. Fady Joudah

Abu al-Hayyat’s poetry doesn’t turn away from sins, ugly secrets, or “videos of slaughtered children / and children who will be kidnapped / from their magical smiles tomorrow”[.] But she also insists on this laughter that is both a delight and a weapon, a source of knowledge and a force so powerful it can break her ribs and gash public decency. Read poems by Maya Abu al-Hayyat in Joudah’s translation at Asymptote, The Baffler, and ArabLit.

Expected release: May 10, 2022

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Mr N, by Najwa Barakat, tr. Luke Leafgren

From the publisher: “Modern-day Beirut is seen through the eyes of a failed writer, the eponymous Mister N. He has left his comfortable apartment and checked himself into a hotel – he thinks. Certainly, they take good care of him there. Meanwhile, on the streets below, a grim pageant: poverty, violence and fear.”

Expected release: May 17, 2022

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Bitter Orange Tree, by Jokha Alharthi, tr. Marilyn Booth

From the publisher: “From Man Booker International Prize–winning author Jokha Alharthi, Bitter Orange Tree is a profound exploration of social status, wealth, desire, and female agency. It presents a mosaic portrait of one young woman’s attempt to understand the roots she has grown from, and to envisage an adulthood in which her own power and happiness might find the freedom necessary to bear fruit and flourish.”

Expected release: May 26, 2022

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Cry in a Long Night, by Jabra Ibrahim Jabra, tr. William Tamplin

From the publisher: “Jabra’s debut novel, first published in 1955 and called by Edward Said “one of the principal successes of Arabic artistic prose and drama,” introduced stream of consciousness, flashback and interior monologue to the Arabic novel and set the stage for the outpouring of excellent modern Arabic prose in the decades that followed.”

Expected release: May 29, 2022.

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Flowers in Flames, by Amir Tag Elsir, tr. Raphael Cohen

From the publisher: “Khamila narrates her experience as a young woman living in Sur, a city which quickly transforms from a rich trading centre into a place of fear and murder at the hands of extremist oppressors. Home to a mixed community of Muslims, Copts, Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Indians, Europeans and Africans, Sur is plunged into turmoil by an extremist revolution orchestrated by the Righteous one.”

Expected release: May 29, 2022

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Among the Almond Treesby Hussein Barghouti, tr. Ibrahim Muhawi

From the publisher: “A poetically written and bitterly sweet memoir about nature, death, life in Palestine, and the universal concept of home.”

Read an excerpt on the Seagull Books website.

Expected release: May 2022

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