Arabic lit, recently translated and reviewed

Several interesting reviews of recently translated Arabic fiction:

In The National, Kaelen Wilson-Goldie reviews the latest by Lebanese novelist Hanan al-Shaykh, a book about her own mother's dramatic life. Wilson Goldie writes that al-Shaykh's works "walk a fine line between what could be considered prototypical chick lit and enduring literary fiction."

Also at The National, John O'Connel reviews Bahaa Taher's "Sunset Oasis," now out in translation (from the consistently good Humphrey Davies) and getting a lot of attention. I liked Taher's "Aunt Safiyya and the Monastery" but I hesitated to read "Sunset Oasis"--even after it won the first International Prize for Arabic Fiction (often referred to as the Arabic Booker)--because of bad memories from his novel "Love In Exile", which drove me crazy with its clichés and self-indulgence, and which also featured a relationship between a Western woman and an Arab man.

And the Complete Review looks at a recent translation of the novel The Hedgehog by the Syrian writer Zakaria Tamer.


Ursula Lindsey

Ursula Lindsey is the managing editor of the Arabist blog. She writes about culture, education and politics in the Arab world. She lived in Cairo from 2002 to 2013 and got her start at the ground-breaking independent magazine Cairo Times. She was the culture editor of Cairo magazine in 2005-2006 and served as special projects editor at the independent news site Mada Masr in 2013-2014. She is the Chronicle of Higher Education's Middle East correspondent. She contributes to the BBC-PRI radio program The World, and has written for Newsweek, The New York Times, The New Yorker online, Bookforum and the blog of the London Review of Books.