Earth Weeps, Saturn Laughs opens with the return of Khalid Bakhit, a government employee, to his hometown in Oman after a time away in the big city, and concludes with his return to the city with a new maturity born of a series of wrenching encounters with reality. Khalid’s return home, sparked by his flight from a painful love affair, coincides with events that reveal the force of long-established traditions that have a stranglehold on the town: from racial prejudice, to religious bigotry, to ossified patterns of leadership. Khalid’s awakening and transformation are catalyzed by his encounters with a certain “Saturnine poet” who, in the course of chasing after an elusive ode, has stumbled upon this unnamed village. For a period of time “the Saturnine” becomes Khalid’s closest companion: listening to his woes, helping him see himself with new eyes, and imparting to him a wisdom from a world beyond, untainted by human smallness.
Abdulaziz Al Farsi, born in Shinas, Oman, in 1976, is a medical oncologist. He began writing in 1998 and is the author of six collections of short stories and two biographical works. Earth Weeps, Saturn Laughs is his first novel.
Nancy Roberts is the translator of Salwa Bakr’s The Man from Bashmour (AUC Press, 2007), for which she received a commendation in the Saif Ghobash–Banipal Prize for Translation. Her most recent translation is Ibrahim Nasrallah's Time of White Horses (AUC Press, 2012).
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