Let me enthuse, for a moment, about this new feature on Quarterly Conversation. Of course, I am a sometimes-contributor to QC, so not completely pure in my applause, but you have to admit this is a list. Scott will forgive me for grabbing two of the recommendations verbatim. Maybe. IContinue Reading

Quarterly Conversation has posted my review of Bahaa Taher’s Sunset Oasis, which won the inaugural “Arabic Booker,” or International Prize for Arabic Fiction. (The book, not my review.) As you’ll see, I find the book somewhat problematic, particularly in its focus on theme ahead of story or character, which tendsContinue Reading

The print media is rife with the “best books of 2009,” and I’m sure we’ll soon see countdowns of dozens of other things  (“top news stories,” “best frauds perpetrated by wanna-be reality TV stars,” and so on). Having worked in the news industry (with appropriate safety goggles and gloves), IContinue Reading

In a forthcoming interview, translator Humphrey Davies disagrees with assertions that Arab literature is under-translated. He says he wishes that someone would make a list, because “there’s a lot more out there than people think.” Indeed, while I was looking up information about the fuzzy-haired Egyptian novelist Sonallah Ibrahim, IContinue Reading