Coming in September: Short Stories from Iraq & a Novel from Sudan

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.

From the last days of August:

The King of India by Jabbour Douaihy, tr. Paula Haydar

From the publisher: “In mysterious circumstances, the body of Zakaria Mubarak is found in an orchard on the outskirts of his village of Tel Safra in northern Lebanon. He had just returned from a long exile in Europe, the US, and Africa, carrying with him a painting by Marc Chagall, the “Blue Violinist,” a gift from his girlfriend in Paris. Suspicion falls on the cousins, who may have killed him to get their hands on a treasure supposedly buried underneath the house built by their grandmother when she returned from America. As investigator Abu Khalid wrestles with conflicting evidence surrounding Zakaria’s death, he is drawn into a picture of the victim’s life, one that recalls fables of gold, sibling strife, the love of French women, false promises of revolution, and the corruption and sectarian enmities that have plagued their homeland.”

The Night Will Have Its Say by Ibrahim al-Koni, tr. Nancy Roberts

From the publisher: “The year is 693 and a tense exchange, mediated by an interpreter, takes place between Berber warrior queen al-Kahina and an emissary from the Umayyad General Hassan ibn Nu’man. Her predecessor had been captured and killed by the Umayyad forces some years earlier, but she will go on to defeat them. The Night Will Have Its Say is a retelling of the Muslim wars of conquest in North Africa during the seventh century CE, narrated from the perspective of the conquered peoples. Written in Ibrahim al-Koni’s unique and enchanting voice, his lyrical and deeply poetic prose speaks to themes that are intensely timely. Through the wars and conflicts of this distant, turbulent era, he addresses the futility of war, the privilege of an elite few at the expense of the many, the destruction of natural habitats and indigenous cultures, and questions about literal and fundamentalist interpretations of religious texts.”

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Coming this month:

No Windmills in Basra by Diaa Jubaili, tr. Chip Rossetti

From the publisher: “Influenced in turn by the long tradition of Arabic folktales and the magical realism of Latin America, the stories in No Windmills in Basra reflect a reality tinged by the city’s history with war. Yet the fantastic and playful peek through, offering an astounding breadth of images in only a few lines per story.”

The Drowning by Hammour Ziada, tr. Paul Starkey

From the publisher: “The Drowning is Hammour Ziada’s third novel. With scarce descriptions, and just the minimal amount of words, Ziada succeeds in portraying very convincing characters, and in poignantly capturing the violence of social relations in a strictly codified society. Only 13-year-old Abeer eludes the reader. Like a dream all men try to catch throughout the novel, Abeer floats silently across town, a fluttering butterfly.”

Leonie Rau

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