Elias Khoury’s Little Mountain

In the foreword to the translation of Little Mountain, Edward Said argues that Khoury's novel “in equal measure...derives and departs” from the Arabic novel, breaking with Naguib Mahfouz's realist style. As Said puts it “from this perspective Khoury’s work bids Mahfouz an inevitable and yet profoundly respectful farewell.” Said notes that in societies such as … Continue reading Elias Khoury’s Little Mountain

Taha Hussein: The Days

Taha Hussein's autobiography Al-Ayam, (The Days) originally serialised in Hilal and then published as a three-part book, is written in the third person, and as Roger Allen notes the book is given a touch of gentle irony by this sense of detachment from  the protagonist, who is described as "the boy"  and later "the young … Continue reading Taha Hussein: The Days

Zaydan’s Golden Age

In the edition of 'Abassa, Rashid’s Sister (translated in English as The Caliph’s Sister) which I recently read there was a preface which records every mention of the alleged tale of Jafar and Abbassa in classical sources, and the first chapter recites a bare-bones history tale of the move to Iraq, the death of al-Saffah, … Continue reading Zaydan’s Golden Age