Lynne Rienner Publishers Logo

Hunters in a Narrow Street [a novel]

Jabra I. Jabra, with an introduction by Roger Allen
Hunters in a Narrow Street [a novel]
ISBN: 978-0-89410-585-2
1990/227 pages/LC: 82-50880

"The novel’s plot is riveting.... a well-written and fascinating transcription of Iraqi and Palestinian life in the late forties. It is a brilliant commentary upon a specific time and place."—The International Fiction Review

"Deserves our full attention and interest."—International Journal of Middle East Studies

"Provides crisp and, at times, stark descriptions and analyses of a host of issues and values which dominated Arab political, and social and literary life in the [late forties and] fifties, as represented by the not untypical Baghdad of that period."—Journal of Arabic Literature


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 tradition and Western innovation. Jabra’s Baghdad is a city filled with strife, squalor, and frustration; his picture of the brothels, the streets, the drawing rooms, and the lecture halls is a rich and powerful one, realistic and profoundly disturbing.


Jabra I. Jabra (1920-1994) wrote more than fifty works of fiction, poetry, and criticism, many of which are required reading at universities throughout the Arab world. He is also renowned for his Arabic translations of the works of Shakespeare. Jabra was awarded the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences Distinguished Prize in 1987 for his life’s achievement in art and literature; the Jerusalem Medal for the Creative Arts in 1990; and both the Tunisian Medal of Merit, First Class, and the Thornton Niven Wilder Prize in 1991. Born in Bethlehem and brought up in Jerusalem, he studied in England and the United States and then settled in Baghdad in 1948.