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.