I read parts of "Echoes" in Arabic, in a literature class, and we spent a very thrilling two hours taking apart just a few of the short, allusive scenes. It struck me as prose poetry--an enormous amount of meaning was condensed into little resonant images and anecdotes (a bit the way memories work).
I mention this because this is something that comes up again and again with Arabic literature--the difference between the valuation of certain works by Arabic readers and Western readers, or the way a book when first encountered in translation can strike a Western reader as boring or awkward or pretentious, and then the Arabic original just blows you away. (It's happened to me many times). I can't tell if there is something about translation from Arabic that is particularly difficult, or if the field of literary translation into English is just underdeveloped.