Twin sisters Randa and Lamis live in the besieged Gaza Strip. Inseparable to the point that even their mother cannot tell them apart, they grow up surrounded by the random carnage that characterizes life under occupation. Randa, who wants to be a journalist, writes to record the devastation around her, taking pictures of martyred children. Meanwhile, their beloved neighbor Amna quietly converses with all those she has lost, as she plans the wedding of Lamis and her son Saleh. With their menfolk almost entirely absent, it is the women who take center stage in this poignant novel of resilience, determination, and living against the odds.
Translated byNancy Roberts
12 October 2017
For sale worldwide
Ibrahim Nasrallah was born to Palestinian parents in Jordan in 1954, and grew up in a refugee camp there. After working as a teacher and a journalist, in 1996 he became vice-president of Darat al-Funun, Jordan’s most prominent art and cultural center. He has written fifteen collections of poetry and eleven novels as well as works of literary criticism. He is also a painter and photographer.
To read an article by Nasrallah entitled 'Writing Palestinian Historical Fiction' (December 22, 2012, Culture+Conflict), click here.
Contemporary Iraqi Fiction
Edited and translated by Shakir Mustafa
An AnthologyEdited and translated by Shakir Mustafa
This first anthology of its kind gathers work from sixteen Iraqi writers. Shedding a bright light on the rich diversity of Iraqi experience, Shakir Mustafa has included selections by Iraqi women and men from a variety of backgrounds. While each voice is distinct, they are united in writing about a homeland that has suffered under repression, censorship, war, and occupation. Many of the selections mirror these grim realities, forcing the writers to open up new narrative terrains and experiment with traditional forms. Themes range from childhood and family to war, political oppression, and interfaith relationships. Mustafa provides biographical sketches of the writers and an enlightening introduction chronicling the evolution of Iraqi literature. Includes works by: Ibtisam Abdullah, Ibrahim Ahmed, Lutfiyya al-Dulaimi, Mayselun Hadi, Muhammad Khodayyir, Samira Al-Mana, Nasrat Mardan, Shmuel Moreh, Samir Naqqash, Abdul Sattar Nasir, Jalil al-Qaisi, Abdul Rahman Majeed al-Rubaie, Mahmoud Saeed, Salima Salih, Mahdi Isa al-Saqr, Samuel Shimon....read more
A Tunisian Tale
Hassouna Mosbahi Translated by Max Weiss
Translated byMax Weiss
After ne’er-do-wells spread rumors about a widowed mother’s weak moral character among the people of a slum on the outskirts of Tunis that festers with migrants who have come to the metropolis from the heartland in search of a better life, her twenty-year-old son takes matters into his own hands and commits an unspeakable crime. An imaginative and disturbing novel told from the alternating viewpoints of this unrepentant sociopath, as he sits and fumes on death row but willingly guides us through his juvenile exploits and twisted memories, and his murdered mother, who calmly gives an account of her interrupted life from beyond the grave, A Tunisian Tale introduces the narrative talents of Hassouna Mosbahi to an English-language audience for the first time, as he confronts both taboos of Tunisian society and the boundaries of conventional storytelling....read more
30 January 2016
Cairo Swan Song
Mekkawi Said Translated by Adam Talib
Translated byAdam Talib
Cairo, Mother of the World, embraces millions—but some of her children make their home in the streets, junked up and living in the shadows of wealth and among the monuments that the tourists flock to see. Mustafa, a former student radical who never believed in the slogans, sets out to tell their story, but he has to rely on the help of his American girlfriend, Marcia, who he is not sure he can trust. Meanwhile, his former leftist friends are now all either capitalists or Islamists. Alienated from a corrupt and corrupting society, Mustafa watches as the Cairo he cherishes crumbles around him. The men and women of the city struggle to find lovers worthy of their love and causes worthy of their sacrifice in a country that no longer deserves their loyalty. The children of the streets wait for the adults to take notice. And the foreigners can always leave....read more
30 January 2016
Birds of Amber
Ibrahim Abdel Meguid Translated by Farouk Abdel Wahab
Translated byFarouk Abdel Wahab
During the 1956 Suez War—or the Tripartite Aggression, as it is known in Egypt—life in Alexandria goes on. The railroad workers and their families live in the low-income housing of el-Masakin, along the Mahmudiya Canal, but some of them take us on forays into the other, cosmopolitan Alexandria, whose European denizens, mainly Greeks, Italians, and Jews are departing in droves. This spellbinding novel teems with memorable characters, not a few of whom are themselves storytellers: a budding novelist writing about el-Masakin and its eccentric denizens and about his own improbable love affair with a 12-year-old girl; a spice merchant dreaming of the bygone glory of his ancestors and their trade along the spice road, beginning on the Malabar Coast; a train guard who is a teller of very tall tales; and a would-be filmmaker trying to make a film showing what happened in Port Said during the war. Then there is the cinema aficionado who plays Tarzan in real life along the Mahmudiya Canal; the young boy who leads a group of assorted crazies every afternoon to see ‘God’ at sunset; the singing nurse whose only dream is to perform on the radio; and Arabi, the young man who is in love with all things European, but especially with his employer, Katina the widowed Greek dressmaker. As in his earlier novel, No One Sleeps in Alexandria, Ibrahim Abdel Meguid here combines historical fact with fiction, and the mundane with the fantastical, to weave an engrossing, multilayered story of stories....read more