Three of Ahmed Nagi’s Favorite (Arabic) Books of the Last Decade: Nope, None in English

As young Egyptian author Ahmed Nagi (Rogers) happened to email me, I thought I'd ask about his favorite books of the last decade. With the caveat that "maybe there are other titles I can't remember now," he said: On The Occasion of Life, 2005, Dar el-Merit بمناسبة الحياة" ياسر عبد الحافظ by Yasser Abdel-Hafez On … Continue reading Three of Ahmed Nagi’s Favorite (Arabic) Books of the Last Decade: Nope, None in English

Two Excerpts from Yet Unpublished Iraqi Novels

Two of the novels excerpted in Banipal 37: Iraqi Authors have not yet been published in Arabic (or Finnish, English, Urdu, Quechua). Both are terrifying, and both show serious promise. The first is an excerpt from Nazum al-Obeidi's A Woman's Ghost in the Neighborhood, as translated by Ghenwa Hayek. The second is a chapter from … Continue reading Two Excerpts from Yet Unpublished Iraqi Novels

Review of Banipal 37: Excerpt of Lutfiya al-Dulaimi’s /The Book of the Girls/

As one flips through the latest Banipal (37: Iraqi Authors), the first fiction to appear is an excerpt from Lutfiya al-Dulaimi's The Book of the Girls. The magazine's foreword notes that: "Lutfiya al-Dulaimi, with her new novel The Book of the Girls---which will surely be translated into many languages---rivets the reader's attention...." Although it receives … Continue reading Review of Banipal 37: Excerpt of Lutfiya al-Dulaimi’s /The Book of the Girls/

Update on Forthcoming Ibrahim al-Koni (in English)

I'm not quite sure what's going on here, but Ibrahim al-Koni's masterwork The Animists (translated by Elliot Colla) was originally scheduled to be out from AUC Press in February of this year. Now, it's had its English-language debut delayed until June of 2012. That's, you know, quite a delay. Meanwhile, al-Koni's The Puppet, translated by … Continue reading Update on Forthcoming Ibrahim al-Koni (in English)

A Few of My Favorite Things: Egyptian Authors, Taha Hussein-Present

Please don't think that the list below is authoritative. It doesn't have Yahia Haqqi, for instance, because I haven't read him. It doesn't have Edwar Kharrat, because I've found the translations of him very unsatisfying. It's not even authoritative on its own terms: my favorite things. I'm forgetful. And poetry! I'm very remiss with poetry. … Continue reading A Few of My Favorite Things: Egyptian Authors, Taha Hussein-Present

One Minute Review: Taha Hussein’s /The Tree of Misery/

The Tree of Misery. By Taha Hussein, trans. Mona El-Zayyat. The Palm Press: Cairo, 1997 (Arabic 1944). 137 pages. I had thought of the Egyptian writer Taha Hussein (1889-1973) as a memoirist and a critic, not an author of gripping fiction. Indeed, I suppose I thought that I might find Hussein's fiction learned and "interesting," … Continue reading One Minute Review: Taha Hussein’s /The Tree of Misery/

Review of (an excerpt of) the One Not Shortlisted: Its Name is Love

The 2009 novel by Lebanese author Alawiyya Sobh Ismuhu al Gharam has been named by some (Youssef Rakha in particular) as the book that should've won the Arabic Booker. The novel, which has received excellent reviews from the Arabic press, did make the prize's longlist, but not the shortlist. From the excerpt translated into English … Continue reading Review of (an excerpt of) the One Not Shortlisted: Its Name is Love

One-Minute Review: A Dog with No Tail

by Hamdi Abu Golayyel, translated by Robin Moger The narrator of Hamdi Abu Golayyel's A Dog with No Tail (Arabic 2008; English 2009) moves through life lazily but anxiously. He's aimless, but still hoping for literary greatness. The novel itself hops from anecdote to anecdote, not progressing "logically," or causally, but connected instead through the … Continue reading One-Minute Review: A Dog with No Tail