‘No Road to Paradise’: How a Novel Described by a Prize Judge as ‘Stagnant’ Wins (and Deserves) Awards

For instance: “a state of non-action” (judge Tahia Abdel Nasser) and “slow, meticulous, stagnant narration” (Rasheed El-Enany) and “a stagnation” (also Rasheed El-Enany), which makes the book sound a bit like having x-rays done at the dentist: a mildly discomfiting process that seems as though it will never, ever end.


Friday Finds: Hoda Barakat and ‘Snow’

“The bitter edge of the blustery cold softened as the fog dropped over the land, thick as a felt saddle blanket. The mountain paths and ravines were no longer distinguishable, making it impossible to guess how much distance remained ahead. Features of the landscape known popularly as the Frenchmen’s Chamber, Deaf-mute’s Crevice, St Severin’s Elbow, the Cross of the Sacred Heart, had all vanished.”

‘Limbo Beirut’: A Don’t-miss Illustrated Novel of Contemporary Limbos, Beiruts

“Limbo Beirut″ is a demand that the reader ″balance in the uneasy space between being a voyeur and a participant, gratifying our desire to get inside the head of that stranger we meet on the street…but on the other hand surprising us with the fact that you can never just be a witness, that you′re always going to somehow become involved in the other′s life, whether you mean to or not.″