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BOOKS

Return of the Spirit [a novel]

Tawfiq al-Hakim, newly translated and with an introduction by William Maynard Hutchins

Both revolution and romance are at the heart of Return of the Spirit, first published in Arabic in 1933. The story of a patriotic young Egyptian and his extended family, ending with events surrounding the 1919 revolution—for al-Hakim, a literal awakening of the Egyptian spirit—Return of the Spirit with its strong expression of nationalist solidarity has particular resonance now.    More >

Return of the Spirit [a novel]

Voices Revealed: Arab Women Novelists, 1898-2000

Bouthaina Shaaban

Spanning more than a century, this systematic study brings to the forefront a dazzling array of novels by Arab women writers. Bouthaina Shaaban's analysis ranges from the work of Zaynab Fawwaz, published at the end of the nineteenth century, to that of Sahar Khalifah and Najwa Barakat, published at the cusp of the twenty-first. The novels discussed reflect not only specifically Arab    More >

Voices Revealed: Arab Women Novelists, 1898-2000

My Days in Mecca

Ahmad Suba'i, edited and translated by Deborah S. Akers and Abubaker A. Bagader

Ahmad Suba'i's autobiography is the story not only of an Arab boy growing up in Saudi Arabia at the turn of the twentieth century—to become a noted writer, educator, and social critic—but also of a place, Mecca, and of the world of the traditional quranic school of the time. Contextualizing the work, the editors have provided information about Suba'i's life and work,    More >

My Days in Mecca

Oranges in the Sun: Short Stories from the Arabian Gulf

edited and translated by Deborah S. Akers and Abubaker A. Bagader

The stories in Oranges in the Sun capture a distinctly unique vision of the world, embodying the range of emotional and material concerns of the peoples of the Arab Gulf region. The introduction to the collection provides historical context, as well as a broad overview of the selections.    More >

Oranges in the Sun: Short Stories from the Arabian Gulf

Tawfiq al-Hakim: A Reader's Guide

William Maynard Hutchins

Tawfiq al-Hakim (1898-1987) dedicated much of his long life to a fruitful attempt to advance the fortunes of twentieth century Arabic literature by writing it. This guide to his work provides paths for readers through his multiple literary worlds. Chapters on his personal history, his novels, plays, short stories, and essays, his Islamic feminism, and his theology are enhanced by a discussion of    More >

Tawfiq al-Hakim: A Reader's Guide

A Feast in the Mirror: Stories by Contemporary Iranian Women

Mohammad Mehdi Khorrami and Shouleh Vatanabadi, editors

In the present golden era of Iranian fiction, women writers—contrary to what many in the West perceive—are making a powerful contribution to the literary scene. Reflecting this, A Feast in the Mirror captures the diverse voices of contemporary Iranian women, offering glimpses into their lives and into the labyrinths of Iranian society today. Moving from the framework of their own    More >

A Feast in the Mirror: Stories by Contemporary Iranian Women

Palestine's Children: Returning to Haifa and Other Stories

Ghassan Kanafani, translated by Barbara Harlow and Karen E. Riley

"Politics and the novel," Ghassan Kanafani once said, "are an indivisible case." Fadl al-Naqib reflected that Kanafani "wrote the Palestinian story, then he was written by it." His narratives offer entry into the Palestinian experience of the conflict that has anguished the people of the Middle East for more than a century. In Palestine's Children, each story    More >

Palestine's Children: Returning to Haifa and Other Stories

Men in the Sun and Other Palestinian Stories (new edition)

Ghassan Kanafani, translated by Hilary Kilpatrick

This collection of important stories by novelist, journalist, teacher, and Palestinian activist Ghassan Kanafani includes the stunning novella Men in the Sun (1962), the basis of the film The Deceived. Also in the volume are "The Land of Sad Oranges" (1958), "'If You Were a Horse . . .'" (1961), "A Hand in the Grave" (1962), "The Falcon" (1961),    More >

Men in the Sun and Other Palestinian Stories (new edition)

Bab el-Oued [a novel]

Merzak Allouache, translated by Angela M. Brewer

Bored housewives, kept in seclusion, smuggling in Harlequin romances. Modish young men transformed into Islamic militants. A baker unwittingly caught in a web of intrigue, an imam whose faith is tested by urban corruption, a lonely divorcee accused of prostitution—all take part in Merzak Allouache's novel of a society on the brink of crisis. Allouache tells the story of the people of    More >

Bab el-Oued [a novel]

Voices of Change: Short Stories by Saudi Arabian Women Writers

edited and translated by Abubaker Bagader, Ava M. Heinrichsdorff, and Deborah S. Akers

Poignant and thought-provoking, this anthology offers a representative selection from the past three decades of works by the best-known women writers in Saudi Arabia. The authors’ stories of their patriarchal society afford rare insight into the traditional and changing roles, relationships, and expectations of modern Saudi women. The editors provide an introductory essay on modern Saudi    More >

Voices of Change: Short Stories by Saudi Arabian Women Writers

Muhammad [a novel]

Driss Chraibi, translated by Nadia Benabid

It is the 26th day of Ramadan in the year 610, and a handsome man named Muhammad is meditating in a cave on Mount Hira. Fear grips him as he tries to sort out the visions and voices washing over him; and terrified that he is possessed, he leaves the cave to return to Mecca. The day that will transform Muhammad’s life—and change the world—has begun. That day becomes a fluid    More >

Muhammad [a novel]

Last Glass of Tea and Other Stories

Mohamed El-Bisatie, edited and translated by Denys Johnson-Davies

A vivid portrait of the lives of the Egyptian poor, particularly in the Nile Delta region, emerges in this collection of 24 short stories. El-Bisatie offers glimpses of the daily struggles and activities of old men, young women, prisoners, war widows, and everyone in between. Masterfully crafted, his stories cultivate in the reader compassion, hatred, understanding, and suspense.    More >

Last Glass of Tea and Other Stories

Lion Mountain [a novel]

Mustapha Tlili, translated by Linda Coverdale

As a young widow with two boys to raise, Horia El-Gharib struggled to reconcile tradition and change. She dared to take on a man's role in commerce and trade to protect the future of her sons—but now, all is at risk in the midst of the turmoil of the newly independent regime. Lion Mountain is the unforgettable story of a stubborn old woman, a one-legged Nubian war hero, and a    More >

Lion Mountain [a novel]

The Seventh Door and Other Stories

Intizar Husain, editor; with an introduction by Muhammad Umar Memon

These powerful stories were written between 1947, when Pakistan was created, and 1971, when it was fragmented by the creation of Bangladesh as an independent nation. Steeped in an unmistakable Shi’ite ambiance, they also draw freely on memoirs and memories, dreams and visions, Middle Eastern oral traditions, and Hindu and Buddhist mythology.    More >

The Origins of Modern Arabic Fiction, 2nd Edition

Matti Moosa

The first edition of this book, completed in 1970, was hailed as a major contribution to scholarship on the development of Arabic fiction in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In this revised and greatly expanded second edition, Matti Moosa has added five entirely new chapters—one on the popular dialogues of Abd Allah Nadim, and four devoted to twentieth century fiction    More >

Attar of Roses and Other Stories of Pakistan

Tahira Naqvi

"Not sure if he were imagining it or if it were indeed real, he inhaled a familiar scent, rose attar, the fragrance that had consumed him in his sleeping and waking hours.... she was there! He spotted and recognized the black sandals, saw the hands, pale and lovely, the black glass bangles catching the light of the sun like flames leaping out in the darkness."—Excerpt from    More >

Attar of Roses and Other Stories of Pakistan

Tower of Dreams [a novel]

Kathryn K. Abdul-Baki

An innocent yet stinging—and always absorbing—account of the lives of two young expatriate girls in Kuwait in the 1960s. Isabel, the red-headed daughter of an American mother and Arab father, befriends Laila, whose family has left the lush, cool mountains of Lebanon in search of a better life in the heat and desert of Kuwait. Abdul-Baki presents the voices of both girls, telling their    More >

Shattered Vision [a novel]

Rabah Belamri, translated by Hugh A. Harter

The violence of war leads to the euphoria of Algeria's newly won independence from France—and then quickly deteriorates into a harsh and cynical reality in this brutal yet lyrical autobiographical novel. Shattered Vision (first published in France as Le regard blesse) was awarded the Prix France Culture in 1987.    More >

Shattered Vision [a novel]

The Ship [a novel]

Jabra I. Jabra, translated and introduced by Adnan Haydar and Roger Allen

Jabra’s highly acclaimed novel is a masterful exploration of the post-1948 Arab world, with its frustrations, yearnings for homeland, and struggle for survival. As his characters interact on a ship sailing from Beirut to Europe, Jabra exposes them to the elements of spiritual and physical displacement. Some survive; others do not.    More >

The Excised [a novel]

Evelyne Accad, translated by David Bruner

Dealing with sexual mutilation, Accad’s lyrical, tragic novel shows woman as prisoner, victim, and target of man’s age-old preoccupation with domination by and fear of women. Set in exploding, agonized Lebanon, the work is Islamic, Christian, modern, and antique in scope. First published in French in 1982. This new paperback edition includes a preface by the author.    More >

Lina: Portrait of a Damascene Girl

Samar Attar

A revealing study of a girl growing to maturity in middle-class Syria and of her family’s struggle to survive in the tumultuous years of 1940–1961 in Damascus. Attar’s work shows a keen eye for the daily scene, a keen ear for conversation, and a tragic sense of history. Reflecting the rapid sociopolitical changes in Syria that exalted some, but crushed others, it marks anew the    More >

Lina: Portrait of a Damascene Girl

The Repudiation [a novel]

Rachid Boudjedra, translated by Golda Lambrova, with an introduction by Heidi Abdel Jaouod

In this turbulent novel of shame, violence, and hypocritical morality, the adolescent son of a repudiated mother grows up in a hostile, erotic, bourgeois world, where he must fight for his own soul. Using violence against violence, the young hero seeks to realize his better nature by overcoming the powers of hedonism, religious conformity, and tribalism. First published in French in 1969.    More >

The Repudiation [a novel]

Critical Perspectives on Yusuf Idris

Roger Allen, editor

Yusuf Idris is considered by many to be the greatest contemporary short-story writer working in Arabic. The 17 critical essays in this collection—some by critics in the Arab world and others by Western specialists on modern Arabic fiction and drama—are organized in sections devoted to Idris's short stories, novels, and plays. Each section includes studies that adopt a general    More >

Inspector Ali [a novel]

Driss Chraibi, translated by Lara McGlashan

After many years abroad, Brahim, the author of stories about a detective (alter-ego) named Ali, returns to Morocco with his pregnant Scottish wife and two sons. Soon to join them are his in-laws, complete with golf clubs and nervous expectations about a mysterious land. In a warm, satirical novel about the misunderstanding between two worlds, Chraïbi pokes fun at both the native Morocco of    More >

Inspector Ali [a novel]

Fields of Fig and Olive: Ameera and Other Stories of the Middle East

Kathryn K. Abdul-Baki

Abdul-Baki’s stories, set in Lebanon, Jordan, Kuwait, and Jerusalem, explore the themes of young women coming of age, the effects of civil war, and differences between East and West.    More >

The Tale of the Old Fisherman: Contemporary Urdu Short Stories

edited and with an introduction by Muhammad Umar Memon

These twelve stories set in modern Pakistan capture the rich Urdu literary tradition, telling close, personal tales of family relationships, love, spirituality, dreams, and the interactions between members of different races and religions. A discussion of contemporary Urdu literature introduces the volume. The authors included in the collection are Zamiruddin Ahmad, Khalida Asghar, Masud Ashar,    More >

Turkish Short Stories from Four Decades

Aziz Nesin, translated and introduced by Louis Mitler

These twenty stories show the broad range of iconoclast, fabulist, realist, satirist, avant- gardist Aziz Nesin (1915-1995), long considered a major voice in contemporary Turkish fiction. Like many Turkish writers, Nesin was born into poverty, saw his work censured, and suffered imprisonment; as these stories demonstrate, however, his voice is very much his own, rich with insights into the social    More >

Turkish Short Stories from Four Decades

Critical Perspectives on Naguib Mahfouz

Trevor Le Gassick, editor

Eleven essays by Western and Middle Eastern scholars evaluate the work of Naguib Mahfouz, arguably Egypt's greatest novelist, and the winner of the 1988 Nobel Prize for Literature. The first such comprehensive, critical treatment in English, the book considers Mahfouz's short stories and screenplays, as well as his novels. The contributors pay particular attention to the sociocultural    More >

Six Days [a novel]

Halim Barakat, translated by Bassam Frangieh and Scott McGehee

Prophetically named for a real war yet to come, Six Days depicts the struggle of a fictional city under siege. Barakat tells the story of shy lovers, friends, increasing fear and anger, and finally the terror of war. The people of Dayr Albahr are confronted with an ultimatum: surrender or be destroyed. They choose to resist, knowing that they face inevitable defeat, but sustained by a    More >

Birth at Dawn [a novel]

Driss Chraibi, translated by Ann Woollcombe

The final volume in a trilogy that includes The Flutes of Death and Mother Spring, Birth at Dawn extends to the eighth century the story of the arrival of Islam in Morocco and Algeria. First published in French in 1986.    More >

Hunters in a Narrow Street [a novel]

Jabra I. Jabra, with an introduction by Roger Allen

Jameel Farran, a Christian Arab, is forced to flee his destroyed Jerusalem in 1948. Teaching at Baghdad University, he falls in love with a beautiful Muslim girl, Sulafa, but their turbulent affair meets almost insurmountable obstacles of tradition and circumstance. This is a story of multiple conflicts—between Arab and Jew, desert and city, dictatorship and futile liberal effort, Eastern    More >

Hunters in a Narrow Street [a novel]

Egyptian Short Stories

edited and translated by Denys Johnson-Davies

Seventeen short stories by such well-known writers as Abdullah, Idris, Mahfouz, Taher, Ibrahim, Sharouni, Fahmy, Sibai, and    More >

Egyptian Short Stories

The Butts [a novel]

Driss Chraibi, translated by Hugh A. Harter

The dehumanization of the Arabs who emigrated to "Mother France" is the subject of Chraïbi’s second novel, echoing Simple Past. This time, however, the focus is more on the values and customs of the West, whose promises to the Islamic world appear as a facade for violence and exploitation. The story unfolds in the mind of Yalaan Waldik, an "Arabo" who aspires to    More >

Mother Spring [a novel]

Driss Chraibi, translated by Hugh A. Harter

Beginning with an epilogue set in the present, this novel quickly moves back to the time of the generation after Muhammad—a time when North Africa, the home of the Berber peoples, was overrun by Arab armies. With strong characters and a compelling sense of place, Chraïbi demonstrates how the Berbers tried to maintain their cultural identity in the face of the overwhelmingly rapid and    More >

The Cheapest Nights

Yusuf Idris, translated by Wadida Wassef

Idris developed a form of expression new to Arabic literary tradition, deliberately distinguishing between the colloquial Arabic spoken by his characters and the classical form that he used as narrator. This innovation at first raised an outcry among Arab critics, who disparaged his deviation from tradition; eventually, however, his work came to be valued as a purely indigenous product and a stark    More >

The Cheapest Nights

Fountain and Tomb [a novel]

Naguib Mahfouz, translated by Soad Sobhi, Essam Fattouh, and James Kenneson

"I enjoy playing in the small square between the archway and the takiya [monastery] where the Sufis live. Like all the other children, I admire the mulberry trees in the takiya garden, the only bit of green in the whole neighborhood. Our tender hearts yearn for their dark berries. But it stands like a fortress, this takiya, circled by its garden wall. Its stern gate is broken and always, like    More >

Fountain and Tomb [a novel]

The Little Black Fish and Other Modern Persian Stories, 2nd Edition

Samad Behrangi, translated by Mary Hegland and Eric Hooglund

Behrangi offers five children’s stories that are notable for their realism and social significance. In keeping with his desire to combat ignorance and bridge the cultural gap between the rural poor and wealthy city dwellers and land owners, his stories do not shield children from knowledge about the pain and cruelty of life. Rather, they pay homage to the lives of the poor, who despite their    More >

1,001 Proverbs from Tunisia

Issac Yetiv

The son of a Tunisian Jewish family, Yetiv attempts to preserve some of the wisdom contained in a tradition that may be dying out. Each proverb is presented in transliterated Arabic, with both a literal English translation and an alternative translation that provides a context more familiar to a Western reader.    More >

Flutes of Death [a novel]

Driss Chraibi, translated by Robin A. Roosevelt

The first book in a trilogy that continues with Mother Spring and Birth at Dawn, this naturalistic allegory is about two Arabic-speaking police officers who set out in the Atlas Mountains in search of a revolutionary. Once in this mysterious region, the officers, with their postcolonial, Westernized manners, are challenged by the ferociously suspicious and independent-minded Berber    More >

The Tree Climber: a play in two acts

Tawfiq al-Hakim, translated from the Arabic by Denys Johnson-Davies

In The Tree Climber, a detective, a lizard, a time-traveling dervish, and a magic tree all help to turn the quiet life of a married couple upside down. "Tawfiq al-Hakim’s plays deal with themes of universal rather than local application: the role of the artist in society, the predicament of man in the face of forces he neither controls nor understands, the use and abuse of power....    More >

Death in Beirut [a novel]

Tawfiq Yusuf Awwad, translated by Leslie McLoughlin

Set against the background of post-1967 Lebanon, this novel caused a sensation in the Arab world because of its frank and realistic descriptions of Lebanon's—and particularly Lebanese women's—problems. Tragedy awaits Tamina, who is drawn by the lure of the city to leave her Shia Muslim village for the university in Beirut. Injured in a student demonstration, she is rescued by    More >

Mother Comes of Age [a novel]

Driss Chraibi, translated by Hugh A. Harter

Setting his novel during World War II, Chraïbi opens the door on the protected and well-to- do world of an Arab woman whose role in society is restricted to that of wife and mother. At the urging of her two sons, she seeks knowledge of the larger world with all its political, economic, and social realities. Soon, she begins to develop and express her own opinions about the ongoing World War    More >

Mother Comes of Age [a novel]

Naked in Exile: Khalil Hawi's The Threshing Floors of Hunger

Khalil Hawi, translated and with extensive interpretive material by Adnan Haydarand Michael Beard

Assembled in this volume are the Arabic and English texts of the three long poems that make up Hawi's Bayadir al-ju [The Threshing Floors of Hunger], The Cave, The Genie of the Beach, and Plurals in Singular Form: The Transformations of Lazarus 1962. The translators provide detailed essays that explain each poem and the specific problems encountered in translating it.    More >

The Sinners [a novel]

Yusuf Idris, translated by Kristin Peterson-Ishaq

A woman abandons her newborn baby in a ditch. Soon discovered, the corpse arouses in the local peasants an intense desire to bring the killer to justice—and gives them the excuse to pry into the lives of the entire community. The primary suspects are a group of migrant workers, and the question of their guilt or innocence soon reveals other kinds of truths. The Sinners is an evocative    More >

The Sinners [a novel]

Days of Dust [a novel]

Halim Barakat, translated by Trevor Le Gassickwith an introduction by Edward Said

Focusing on the interaction of finely portrayed characters from all elements of society, Days of Dust depicts the existential drama of the Six Days War as it was experienced on a personal level. The novel provides a remarkable perspective for comprehending Palestinian uprootedness and a people’s unceasing struggle for a homeland. First published in Arabic in 1969. This edition includes    More >

The Palestinian Wedding: A Bilingual Anthology of Contemporary Palestinian Resistance Poetry

edited and translated by A.M. Elmessiri, illustrated by Kamal Boullata

The poems in this powerful bilingual collection range from the rhetorical lyricism of Tawfiq Zayyad to the complex, cosmic imagery of Walid al-Halis, from the romantic idiom of Salma al-Jayyusi to the edgy, convoluted style of Tawfiq Sayigh, all evoking Palestine, the never-forgotten homeland. The rich variety of the work is explored in Abdelwahab Elmessiri's extensive introduction and    More >

The Palestinian Wedding: A Bilingual Anthology of Contemporary Palestinian Resistance Poetry

Fate of a Cockroach and Other Plays

Tawfiq al-Hakim, translated by Denys Johnson-Davies

Includes The Song of Death, The Sultan's Dilemma, and Not a Thing Out of Place, as well as the title play, an absurdist comedy.    More >

Fate of a Cockroach and Other Plays

The Man Who Lost His Shadow [a novel]

Fathy Ghanem, translated by Desmond Stewart

The life of a young, ambitious Cairo journalist as seen through the eyes of the two women who love him and the two colleagues who befriend him, only to be betrayed. First published in Arabic.     More >

Season of Migration to the North [a novel]

Tayeb Salih, translated by Denys Johnson-Davies

Salih's shocking and beautiful novel reveals much about the people on each side of a cultural divide. A brilliant Sudanese student takes his mix of anger and obsession with the West to London, where he has affairs with women who are similarly obsessed with the mysterious East. Life, ecstasy, and death share the same moment in time. First published in Arabic in 1969.    More >

Season of Migration to the North [a novel]

Wind Driven Reed & Other Poems

Fouzi El-Asmar, translated by G. Kanazeh and Uri Davis

Poems of home and exile by Fouzi El-Asmar, a Palestinian poet and journalist. Most selections are presented in dual English/Arabic text.    More >