Sunday, March 27, 2011

Taboos and Arabic Booker

In The State of the Arts in the Middle East's Viewpoints (2009: 11), Allen suggests:  


It is frequently mentioned that the kind of writing reflected in these novels is 'courageous', in that the novelists take on a number of pressing social and political issues and write about them within societies where the existence and application of the concept of 'freedom of expression' is at best ambiguous and subject to a number of generally unfavorable local pressures. It is, of course, this very aspect that initially draws the attention of Western publishers (and their implied readerships) to these works. Whether we are talking about Mustaghanimi's Algeria, al-Aswani's Egypt, or al-Sani's Saudi Arabia and whether the topic is politics, corruption, or sex, these works find a ready readership for what they purport to reveal in fictional form.

I mentioned the above quote to comment on the winners of this year's Arabic Booker.  In their awarded novels, both Saudi Arabian Raja Alem and Moroccan Mohammed Achaari cover sensitive issues in the Arab world. Alem's The Dove's Necklace exposes corruption and exploitation in Mecca, while Achaari's The Arch and the Butterfly is a narration of the effects of terrorism on a Muslim family.   For more, read this:

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