Contemporary Arab Fiction: Innovation from Rama to Yalu by Fabio Caiani

By Fabio Caiani

This e-book introduces Western readers to a couple of the main major novels written in Arabic considering 1979. regardless of their contribution to the advance of up to date Arabic fiction, those authors stay principally unknown to non-Arab readers.

Fabio Caiani examines the paintings of the Moroccan Muhammad Barrada; the Egyptian Idwar al-Kharrat; the Lebanese Ilyas Khuri and the Iraqi Fu’ad al-Takarli. Their most vital novels have been released among 1979 and 2002, a interval within which their paintings reached literary adulthood. all of them characterize pioneering literary developments in comparison to the novelistic shape canonized within the influential early works of Naguib Mahfouz. before, a few of their so much cutting edge works haven't been analyzed intimately – this e-book fills that hole.

Relying on literary concept and bearing on comparative examples from different literatures, this learn locations its findings inside of a much broader framework, defining what's intended by way of innovation within the Arabic novel, and the actual socio-political context during which it sounds as if. This booklet will considerably improve the present serious literature in English at the modern Arabic novel.

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Extra resources for Contemporary Arab Fiction: Innovation from Rama to Yalu (Routledge Studies in Middle Eastern Literatures)

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31 These lies and ‘I don’t know’ and ‘I’m not sure’ are typical of Khuri’s story-tellers: in Rihlat, the main autobiographical narrator (a writer who is gathering information about the story of a Beirut shoeshine nicknamed ‘Little Ghandi’) finds himself lost in the middle of the various contradictory stories narrated to him by the prostitute Alice and other acquaintances of Ghandi’s. The novel begins and ends with the death of PAbd al-Karim, Little Ghandi. He dies on 15 September 1982 and, as the author makes clear in the novel, this date was not chosen at random, since it was the day the Israeli army entered Beirut.

Novelists like the Egyptians Mahfouz and Idris and the Palestinian Ghassan Kanafani (1936–1972), to mention only a couple of significant names, have all experimented with increasingly fragmented texts. For example, Kanfani’s novel Ma tabaqqa la-kum (1966; All That’s Left to You, 1990) contains sudden shifting from one narrator to another, without clarifying markings. 11 He talks about ‘breaking the uninterrupted narrative sequence’ and ‘disrupting the linear temporal sequence’ (Kharrat 1993: 11–12).

The important thing for the remembering author is not what he experienced, but the weaving of his memory, the Penelope work of recollection. (Benjamin 1929: 204) Writers like al-Kharrat and Khuri are interested in the mental processes of recollecting and remembering. But again, al-Kharrat underlines how in remembering, and in his art, what is intangible, the dream, the thought, the memory are even more important than what can actually be touched. As MikhaUil confesses in al-Zaman: When I talk about those matters now, they look luminous, their dimensions and limits clear.

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