Land of Hypocrisy

Land of Hypocrisy by Yusuf al-Sibai was published in 1949, the year after the Nakba. It is a bare-faced allegory which the writer dedicates ironically to “the best of those who deserve dedications” that is, himself, with the explanation that he values himself and does not want to be the first character identified in the … Continue reading Land of Hypocrisy

Tawfiq Hakim’s Sparrow from the East

Tawfik Hakim’s Sparrow From the East, published in 1938, is an early example of a narratives in which Arab characters visit Europe. In the first chapter, when Andre discovers Muhsin, the sensitive art-loving hero, eating dates in the streets of Paris, he calls him “sparrow from the East,” and the East/West divide is established. Later … Continue reading Tawfiq Hakim’s Sparrow from the East

Waciny Laredj’s Memory of Water

Just finished reading Waciny Laredj's Memory of Water (1997),  the story of a leftist intellectual in Algeria, who narrates the fragmentation of his country in fragmented, stream of consciousness prose. Set in the early 90s, many of the chapters begin with newspaper clippings the narrator has collected, dating all the way back to the 60s, … Continue reading Waciny Laredj’s Memory of Water

Leftovers of War

Three examples of art and bullets as the leftovers of war in Arab contexts: The Bullet Collection by Patricia Sarrafian Ward Throughout their childhood, Marianna watches Alaine collect the detritus of war—bullets, grenades, shrapnel, a gas mask. These objects, some taken from corpses, line Alaine’s bedroom shelves, a catalog of her retreat into a profound … Continue reading Leftovers of War

A Symposium on Jurji Zaydan

Jurji Zaydan is the focus of a four hour symposium at the Library of Congress as scholars from the Arab world, Europe and North America presented papers and discussed the life and work of the noted Arab novelist, journalist and publisher. And ArabLit had a post (and a quiz!) on Zaydan yesterday, read a snippet: … Continue reading A Symposium on Jurji Zaydan