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Tablet & Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East (Words Without Borders) Hardcover – November 8, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
I urge anyone reading this review to click the "Look Inside" feature above.
Just read the "Author Biographies"(starting on page 611) and you will come to understand the sheer magnitude and diversity of middle-eastern literature we have been missing out on- and the importance of such an anthology!
Reza Aslan is a sophisticated and charismatic advocate of cultural pluralism and an invaluable moderate voice in the twilight of religious and political reformation.
Watch him discuss this book (and provide some comic-relief) on this clip from The Colbert Report:
The stories were interesting and odd, in the way Manto and Ismat's stories are wont to be. I always feel a bit confused whenever I watch a drama based on Manto's writing, he seems very abstract and unrelatable to the common person from that region. As much as I enjoy drama, as young as I am, and as much time as I've spent outside that region, his stories seem soooo far fetched to me, I can't get into them. But I found this story surprisingly well written, more relatable than I'd like it to be, and refreshingly honest (which is what I always FEEL like he's trying to be, but ends up NOT being to me... the complete opposite if anything).
This is one time I didn't end up thinking, "oh God, here he goes trying to be deep and weird again". I actually found the message to be an IMPORTANT one for people of that region itself, PARTICULARLY the theme of honesty/dishonesty to oneself about one's intentions/emotions and the "showmanship of fighting for freedom/living up to your principles" which is so common, and a weakness, of the South Asian culture.
But it was very VERY interesting to read how certain metaphors in the poems were attempted to be deciphered in English; this was the the reason I couldn't give it five stars. Poems that were meant to be very very deep ending up sounded two dimensional and almost silly/humorous. Two of his poems, that I LOVE, basically got butchered in translation, but honestly, I don't see how they could've been carried over intact.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It is sad and strange that this volume excludes Israeli literature as if Israel were not a part of the Middle East. Read morePublished on May 16, 2011 by mirlan
This would be a good book, were it not for the self-important yet highly misinformed
introduction; were it not for the editor's ideologue-mentality regarding the "West"... Read more
I purchased this book for a friend who is a German citizen, originally from Iran. She raved over the book. Read morePublished on December 18, 2010 by Catherine W. Meibert