The collection’s best stories — of which there are many — aren’t interested in djinn as a site of the exotic, wish-granting imaginary. Instead, they employ djinn in tales that move sideways to explore cruelty or loss, adolescence or injustice.
“Here, we are confronted with the question: In our act of reading, are we down there with the narrator or are we up there with the drone?”
“The narrator Abla/Loula tells her story – alternating between the two sides of her schizophrenic self – against the background of the turbulent political times that followed the January 25th revolution.”
“There are few names in the narrative, and only a few characters who appear throughout the novel to guide the reader through. It is easier to regard the landscape as the only consistent character.”
“As a translator, one of the most impressive and delightful feats in the English version is where Nada and her father unwind in the evening by playing a beloved poetry game.”
“…it’s a fast-paced, novella-length work, reminiscent of Muriel Spark’s ‘Driver’s Seat’, both for its black humor and for the way its characters slide precipitously into danger.”
The Journey of Hyenas (2013) by Egyptian writer Soheir al-Musadafah, sets the a story of a woman’s seventh-century slavery against the present day.
Hanan al-Shaykh’s latest novel — The Virgins of Londonistan — was released in late November at this year’s Beirut Book Fair. Reviewer Mishka Mojabber Mourani found it to be both flirtatious and important.
Reviewer Alexandra Atiya found a challenge to received ideas of masculinity in Iraqi novelist Muhsin al-Ramli’s “Dates on My Fingers” (2014), translated by Luke Leafgren.
We have become so accustomed to thinking of religion as a place of singularity in human identity that Diary of a Jewish Musilm gives all the shock in translation that author Kamal Ruhayyim surely intended in the original.
Today would have been Saudi-Iraqi novelist Abdelrahman Munif’s 81st birthday. Although a great craftsman of the 20th century Arabic novel, his literary legacy goes largely un-celebrated.
It’s been a long time since I’ve felt myself burrow as deeply inside a character as I did inside Myriam, the narrator of Iman Humaydan’s “Other Lives,” translated into English by Michelle Hartman and recently released by Interlink.