At the end of the fifteenth century, the keys to Granada, the last Muslim state in the Iberian Peninsula, have been handed over to the Christian king and queen. Abu Jaafar the bookbinder watches Christopher Columbus and his entourage in a triumphant parade of exotic plants, animals, and human captives from the Americas. But as Spain celebrates the acquisition of a new world, Muslims and Jews throughout the country are mourning the loss of an old one, and now face confiscations, forced conversions, and expulsions. As the new masters of Granada burn books, Abu Jaafar quietly moves his rich library out of town, while still preparing for the marriage of his granddaughter Saleema to his apprentice Saad.
Radwa Ashour skillfully weaves a history of Granadan rule and the Andalusian Arab world into a novel that evokes cultural loss and the disappearance of a vanquished population.
Radwa Ashour (1946–2014) is a highly acclaimed Egyptian writer and scholar. She is the author of more than fifteen works of fiction, memoir, and criticism, including Granada (AUC Press, 2008) and The Woman from Tantoura (AUC Press, 2014), and was a recipient of the Constantine Cavafy Prize for Literature and the prestigious Owais Prize for Fiction.
William Granara is professor of the practice of Arabic language and literature at Harvard University in the departments of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and Comparative Literature. He has translated several Arabic novels into English, including The Earthquake (2000) and The Battle of Poitiers (2011).