From Publishers Weekly
This sweeping anthology is as eclectic as the nations it represents. Johnson-Davies, called "the leading Arabic-to-English translator of our time" by Edward Said, collects work from 79 writers across 14 countries. Among those included are Mahmoud Teymour, widely regarded as the father of the Arabic short story; Naguib Mahfouz, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature; and Hanan al-Shaykh, a female writer in Arabic whose work in translation has far outsold copies in her native tongue. The quality of these short stories, novellas, and novel excerpts vary, but there are many standouts, including Jabra Ibrahim Jabra's emotionally dynamic excerpt from the novel In Search of Walid Masoud; Nawal El Saadawi's brave treatment of sex, slavery and women; Yusuf Idris's morally resonant excerpt from City of Love and Ashes; and the lyrical entries from Al-Shaykh and Mahfouz. Though some readers might grow tired of the religious piety and conservative thought offered up in most of the work, readers who are interested in dipping into a contemporary literary canon very different from the West's will find this an illuminating resource. An introduction by Johnson-Davies provides a lucid yet brief overview, as do the short biographies preceding each author's work.
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About the Author
Denys Johnson-Davies, “the leading Arabic-English translator of our time” according to Edward Said, has translated more than twenty-five volumes of short stories, novels, plays, and poetry, and was the first to translate the work of Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz. He is also interested in Islamic studies and is co-translator of three volumes of Prophetic Hadith. Recently he has written a number of children’s books adapted from traditional Arabic sources, and a collection of his own short stories, Fate of a Prisoner,
was published in 1999. Born in Canada, he grew up in Sudan and East Africa and now divides his time bewteen Marrakesh and Cairo.