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Wolves of the Crescent Moon Paperback – December 18, 2007
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-Hanan al-Shaykh, author of Women of Sand and Myrrh
"Brave and brilliant . . . A novel that sneaks up on you with its power to make you see, hear, and live the complexities of another world."
-Uzodinma Iweala, author of Beasts of No Nation
"An irresistible novel."
-Nuruddin Farah, author of Links and Knots
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Top Customer Reviews
The book unfolds in short chapters which alternate between the lives of three men, each of whom has suffered a grievous bodily loss which in many ways has determined their fate. Turad is a one-eared Bedouin tribesman from the Saudi desert who moves to Riyadh to avoid becoming an outcast among his own people. There, the proud hunter and highwayman ekes out a life as a servant in a government ministry, enduring endless humiliation. One of his coworkers is Tawfiq, a elderly Sudanese man who was captured by slavers in his homeland and taken across the Red Sea. Castrated as a child, he works in a palace until 1962, when slavery is abolished and he is turned out into the streets with no prospects. Finally, there is Nasir, an orphan who lost an eye to a cat as a baby and can never overcome that tragedy.
The stories of the three men unwind in a variety of styles, from memories, storytelling, official files, and so on -- some parts are even imagined by others.Read more ›
None of the above characters had their physical deformity at birth. I did however compare their fate with two characters who did, both having a "club-foot," Phillip, in W. Somerset Maugham's "Of Human Bondage," and Manal, in Jocelyne J. Awad's "Khamsin." Their deformity is central to their existence; their longing to be "normal," is a persistent theme in their life. In the case of the characters from Maugham and Awad, it was a matter of nature "dealing a bad hand." For Al-Mohaimeed's characters the tragedy of their deformity is compounded, since each is due to the cruelty, greed, and callousness of humans, and need never have happened.
I love the author's prose-- his technique and style. Certainly the metaphor of the pixels being added upon each scan of the object, bringing the entire picture into focus is appropriate.Read more ›
Al-Mahaimeed's perspective, a 'greater Middle East' classist point of view, is invaluable. Placed in Saudi Arabia, it's expressed through three men excluded from a reactionary middle-class who serve (as menially as you can imagine) the few with untold wealth.
But the novel reflects his roaring stream of thoughts about his own life and that of a number of persons he is or was associated with. Two deserve special mention because they are losers in life, like Turad, who is a Bedouin who robbed caravans in the desert and has since been disowned by his tribe. He has lost his standing, his place in the world. The second character is Tewfik, born Hasan, an elderly eunuch captured as a young boy in Sudan and smuggled into Saudi Arabia as a slave. He lost his parents, his manhood, his land of birth, and when slavery was abolished, the relative security its status provided…
The third person is the person in the official file, Nasir, a foundling whom a state agency provided with a name and fake parentage, which disqualifies him from ever attaining full citizenship, which require deep tribal roots and a family name starting with Al-. But what if he were adopted?
Strange and intriguing, highly re-readable, passionate, occasionally lyrical or furious, the author exposes indifference and hypocrisy in a closed conservative society thriving on exclusion and exploitation. A cry for compassion, not a political manifest. Given its modest size also highly recommended for reading groups/clubs.