From the International Prize for Arabic Fiction official biography and book description:

Shukri al-Mabkhout was born in Tunis in 1962. He holds a state doctorate in Literature from the Arts College of Manouba, Tunisia, and is head of the Manouba University. He is on the editorial board of several refereed journals, including the magazine published by the Institute of Arabic Literature in Tunis (Ibla) and Romano Arabica published by The Centre for Arab Studies in Bucharest, Romania. He is the author of several works of literary criticism. The Italian is his first novel.

At the heart of The Italian is Abdel Nasser (nicknamed ‘the Italian’) and his mysterious assault on the Imam, his neighbour, during his father’s funeral procession. The book’s narrator attempts to uncover the motivations behind the attack, re-constructing his friend Abdel Nasser’s troubled history from childhood. It looks at Abdel Nasser’s time as a left-wing student at the University of Tunis, during the final years of the Bourguiba era and the beginning of Ben Ali’s, through to the period of radical changes that subsequently rocked Tunisian society, when the dreams of a generation were torn apart by the fierce struggle between the Islamists and the Left. The novel reveals the mechanisms of control and censorship exercised through the press as well as the fragility of human beings, their secret histories and buried wounds.



    1. My apologies, the book has not yet been translated.

      1. Being a literary translator, I’m very interested in knowing if the book is already being translated into English. I translated the first work of fiction on the Arab Spring by Moroccan author Tahar Ben Jelloun.

  1. I am craving an English translation of the novel. I hope by now there’s an English version for my Anglophone colleagues

  2. The novel is currently being translated, for Europa Editions, and should be available in the fall or winter.

    1. Thanks for the heads up! Will look for it.

    2. UPDATE: The translation was just completed and is in review now. It will be published in Fall 2021.

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