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Arabic Prose & Poetry

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Consult Them in the Matter
A Nineteenth-Century Islamic Argument for Constitutional Government

Ahmad ibn Abi Diyaf
Translated from the Arabic with Introduction and Notes by L. Carl Brown

A modern Muslim wrestles with notions of democracy

Winner of the 2005 $10,000
Arabic Literature in Translation Prize

Toward the end of his long career as an official in the Tunisian government, Ahmad ibn Abi Diyaf (Bin Diyaf) took on the task of writing a history of his country. The result was a multivolume history, concentrating on the period that Bin Diyaf experienced first-hand from within the small circle of Tunisia’s government, where he had served from the 1820s to the 1860s. It was as if a Harry Hopkins, Arthur Schlesinger Jr., or Henry Kissinger had served not just a Roosevelt, Kennedy, or Nixon, but all three presidents for an unbroken forty-year period. (more …)

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Princesses’ Street
Baghdad Memories

Jabra Ibrahim Jabra
Translated from the Arabic by Issa J. Boullata

Poignant, intellectual autobiography of the Palestinian writer in pre-Saddam Baghdad

Finalist for the 2005
Arabic Literature in Translation Prize

As a bright and inquisitive young man, the author became friends with the archeologist Max Mallowan and his wife, who, he later learned, was Agatha Christie (she wrote The Mousetrap during this period, in a little mud brick room). Jabra’s intellectual autobiography quickly developed as he traveled to Jerusalem, Oxford, and Harvard University, where he studied with I. A. Richards and Archibald MacLeish. But this book is not only about matters of the mind, it is about matters of the heart as well. (more …)



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Scattered Crumbs
A Novel

Muhsin al-Ramli
Translated from the Arabic by Yasmeen S. Hanoosh

Set in an Iraqi village during the Iran-Iraq war, Scattered Crumbs critiques a totalitarian dictatorship through the stories of an impoverished peasant family. A father, a fierce supporter of Saddam Hussein—here called only “The Leader”—clashes with his artist son, who loves his homeland but finds himself literally unable to paint the Leader's portrait for his father's wall. The narrator remembers the disintegration of his family as he leaves the village to search for his cousin . . . . (more …)

2003, 136 pages
$16.95, paper, 1-55728-750-3

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Autumn Equinox

Jabbour Douaihy
Translated from the Arabic by Nay Hannawi

Jabbour Douaihy's Autumn Equinox is a diary of a young man recently resettled in his Lebanese village after going to college in the United States. It continues from the end of May through the September equinox of 1986. The diary begins with a view of an Israeli bombing in South Lebanon and ends with a description of refugee families fleeing to the mountain villages. America, personified by a Lara who does not answer his letters, is a faraway land of nostalgia. The village is here, at the center of the young man's narration, peopled by comic characters who . . . (more…)

2001, 152 pages
$16.95 paper (s), 1-55728-707-4

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Little Songs in the Shade of Tamaara

Mohammed Afifi
Translated from the Arabic by Lisa J. White
Afterword by Naguib Mahfouz, Nobel Prize–winning author of Midaq Alley

A graceful simile about modern Egypt—the delicate farewell portrait made by a dying man. (more …)

"Afifi's work is a refreshing, touching hymn celebrating the unity of existence and the endurance of life in the face of death."

—Husain Haddawy, translator of The Arabian Nights (1995, W.W. Norton)

2000, 144 pages
$16.95 paper, 1-55728-614-0

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The Square Moon

Ghada Samman
Translated from the Arabic by Issa J. Boullata

Marking collisions of culture and character, these stories arise at the frontiers where Arabic tradition melds with both the modern European world and a Gothic strata of the supernatural.

1998, 216 pages
$28.00 cloth (s), 978-1-55728-534-8 | 1-55728-534-9
$18.95 paper (s), 978-1-55728-535-5 | 1-55728-535-7

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Middle Eastern


Idris Ali, Translated from the Arabic by Peter Theroux

In this, the first Nubian novel ever translated, Idris Ali paints in vibrant detail the story of cultures and hearts divided, of lost lands, impossible dreams, and abandoned lives.

1998, 128 pages
$26.95 cloth (s), 978-1-55728-531-7 | 1-55728-531-4
$18.95 paper (s), 978-1-55728-532-4 | 1-55728-532-2

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Tradition and Modernity in Arabic Literature

Edited and Compiled with an Introduction
by Issa J. Boullata and Terri DeYoung

Taken as a whole, these essays present a chorus on the rapid evolution of modern Arabic artistic achievement and how that art relates to the traditions and histories of both the Arab and Western worlds.

1997, 272 pages
$39.95 cloth (s), 1-55728-447-4

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Middle Eastern

Improvisations on a Missing String

Nazik Saba Yared
Translated from the Arabic by Stuart A. Hancox

"Improvisations offers a thoughtful and unique insight into Arabic cultures and the role of intellectual women within those societies."

—ALA Booklist

1997, 112 pages
$29.95 cloth (s), 978-1-55728-495-2 | 1-55728-495-4
$19.95 paper (s), 978-1-55728-496-9 | 1-55728-496-2

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The First Well
A Bethlehem Boyhood

Jabra Ibrahim Jabra
Translated from the Arabic by Issa J. Boullata

The First Well is an engaging autobiographical account of Jabra's boyhood in Bethlehem, where he was born in 1920, and later in Jerusalem, where he moved as a teenager with his parents. Here is a chronicle of the experiences and events he drew upon as he became one of the leading authors of the Arab world.

1995, 192 pages
$29.95 cloth (s), 978-1-55728-349-8 | 1-55728-349-4
$18.95 paper (s), 978-1-55728-381-8 | 1-55728-381-8

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The Kingdom of Strangers

Elias Khoury
Translated from the Arabic by Paula Haydar

"This Mosaic portrayal of its author's native Lebanon besieged by civil war . . . expands into a generalized examination of chaos and despair suffered by families everywhere.…"

Kirkus Reviews

1995, 192 pages
$29.95 cloth (s), 978-1-55728-433-4 | 1-55728-433-4
$19.95 paper (s), 978-1-55728-434-1 | 1-55728-434-2

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Beirut '75

Ghada Samman
Translated from the Arabic by Nancy N. Roberts

Ghada Samman's first full-length novel, originally published in Arabic in 1974, is a creative and daring work which prophetically depicts the social and political causes for the outbreak of the Lebanese civil war in 1975. It addresses the struggles of Arab, and particularly Lebanese, society, but the message is one of the universal human condition.

1995, 160 pages
$39.95 cloth (s), 978-1-55728-383-2 | 1-55728-383-4
$18.95 paper (s), 978-1-55728-382-5 | 1-55728-382-6

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Points of the Compass
Stories by Sahar Tawfiq

Selected, Translated from the Arabic and Introduced by Marilyn Booth

In her first collection published in English, Sahar Tawfiq explores the consciousnesses of young women alienated from their surroundings in today's rapidly changing Egyptian society. In questioning the place of long-powerful myths and beliefs, she is in the forefront of writers examining the legacy of the Pharoahs as it permeates current Egyptian identities and practices, especially in the countryside.

1995, 96 pages
$22.50 cloth (s), 978-1-55728-385-6 | 1-55728-385-0
$14.95 paper, 978-1-55728-384-9 | 1-55728-384-2

Prose from
the Arabic
Poetry from the Arabic

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Middle Eastern

Angry Voices
An Anthology of the Off-Beat
New Egyptian Poets

Translated, with an introduction, by Mohamed Enani
Compiled by Mohamed Metwalli

A new movement is emerging in Egyptian literature—urban in its energies; cosmopolitan in its national, Arabic, and western influences; and independent and rowdy in its voice. (more …)

2003, 160 pages
$19.95 paper (s), 1-55728-743-0

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Quartet of Joy

Muhammad Afifi Matar
Translated from the Arabic and with a Preface and Notes
by Ferial Ghazoul and John Verlenden

"The contemporary Egyptian poet Muhammad Afifi Matar is one of a handful of important writers whose work molds an ecstatic vision with a mastery of language and the Islamic tradition into an extraordinary idiom of burning intensity and hypnotic power. . . ."

—Edward W. Said

1997, 152 pages
$22.95 cloth (s), 978-1-55728-487-7 | 1-55728-487-3
$14.95 paper (s), 978-1-55728-488-4 | 1-55728-488-1

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Questions and Their Retinue
Selected Poems, 1972–1994

Hatif Janabi
Translated from the Arabic by Khaled Mattawa

Janabi's poems deal with war, death, perception, and truth, drawing from his family life, his exile in Poland, violence in Iraq, and his experience in the United States.

1996, 88 pages
$29.95 cloth, 978-1-55728-431-0 | 1-55728-431-8
$16.95 paper, 978-1-55728-432-7 | 1-55728-432-6


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