- Publisher: Saqi Books; Bilingual edition
- ASIN: B00IJ0K59E
- Shipping Information: View shipping rates and policies
- Average Customer Review: 23 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,778,747 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.98 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Modern Arabic Short Stories: A Bilingual Reader by Newman, Daniel L., Husni, Ronak (2008) Paperback Paperback
See the Best Books of 2018
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for the best books of the year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Try the Kindle edition and experience these great reading features:
Showing 1-5 of 23 reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
All of these very short stories seem to pack a powerful message, a few of them were a bit difficult to understand. I would say that what makes this collection unique is it that even though it is narrowed down to a language, period, and genre it is still very eclectic. The other collections of Arabic short stories tend to be focused on gender or politics, and I haven't found any that were bilingual.
My only complaints about this collection are that it came with a card insert listing about 50 mistakes strewn throughout the Arabic side of the text. The editors should have caught this before it went to press! Also, I missed out on part of the culture because the editors presume that everyone who is reading this collection is doing so to improve Arabic fluency. The footnotes on Arabic terms do not give any transliterations even though the explanations are in English.
How do I describe a collection of short stories like this? Clearly, it is impossible to doubt the quality of the stories, each of which was interesting and entertaining in its own right. My favorites were the `Tale of the Lamp' in which we see a starved traveler stumble upon a rich kingdom, and `The Night and the Sea' which painted a bleak but moving picture with its rich descriptions and overwhelming emotions.
Unfortunately, the beautiful use of language means that the language is also suitably hard. Devilishly hard. Consider the first sentence of the first (supposedly easiest) story:
They claimed, and god knows it was true, that it was a year of drought, famine, misery, hunger and starvation, god preserve us all. P. 18
Or this sentence from Naguib Mahfouz's short story about Siamese twins:
They would clash in a vortex of fiery and crazed outbursts. A raging wave would emerge from the depths, removing any sense of shame while impetuosity superseded regret. P. 126
I would like to think of myself as an advanced student, despite my terrible writing, but I found many of these stories extraordinarily hard. Were it not for the translations in English these stories would have been too much to handle. I tried to read the entire Arabic story before resorting to the English translation however I found myself switching back after only a page to make sure that I understood the next section in Arabic. Also, when I showed the book to a group of Saudi friends, and as soon as one opened up the book and read the first sentence, one asked me '''' '''''' after saying, "This stuff is hard for us too."
Considering the difficulty of the texts, the structure of footnotes and translation is important. But I was disappointed by how the book placed footnotes and the end of the story, necessitating multiple bookmarks and needless page flipping. Worse, the translations did not line up with the Arabic, and often spilled over on to the next page. So reading these stories was harder than it could have been.
In the end, the important thing is that there are translations, and for that this book deserves praise. But be warned, if you want to read this for its Arabic content, be prepared for a challenge.
However, the English translation of these stories is some of the worst I have ever seen, and I am surprised that they were published. Any advanced Arabic student with a dictionary can verify that key descriptors, clauses, and ideas are completely omitted or adulterated. In general, the language of the translated English text is choppy and does not really do much to preserve the original flavor of the text.