"I'm very, very careful; there are ways that we say things in Arabic which if one were to translate them closely or literally would sound to an English ear as being either sectarian, or religious, or 'backwards,' if you want to put it that way."
I recently finished reading Elias Khoury's Little Mountain (1977), as translated by the able and lovely Maia Tabet.* The translation, published in 1989, is full of footnotes. (It wasn't until 1996 that the New York Times declared the footnote dead. But apparently parenthetical references are still okay.) Tabet's footnotes sketch in details about caliph Omar … Continue reading Footnoting Arabic Literature (in English): Yay or Nay?
Well, perhaps this one was a bit morbid: The "Five Before You Die" was a feature we ran back in the summer 2010; by now, there are now many more great Arabic books available in translation, but this remains a strong list from translators, authors, critics, and publishers. Shakir Mustafa Although he might not put … Continue reading 5 Arabic Books (in English) to Read ‘Before You Die’
There are two stories by Luay Hamza Abbas in Banipal 37: Iraqi Authors, "The Pictures" and "Ali the Red," and I think they're well worth discussing. The prose---translated by the lovely, brilliant Maia Tabet*---is often striking, as in the opening to "The Pictures": There's a kind of friend whose presence in the life of the … Continue reading The Stories of Luay Hamza Abbas