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‘I could draw it in writing’ [book review]

A review of Planet of Clay by Samar Yazbek, translated from the Arabic by Leri Price ‘A story . . . seems understandable when it’s about a large beast that eats people,’ muses the narrator of Samar Yazbek’s Planet of Clay, a haunting exploration of conflict, trauma and the utter impossibility of using words toContinue reading ‘I could draw it in writing’ [book review]

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‘They’re the heads and we’re the bodies’ [book review]

A review of Here Is A Body by Basma Abdel Aziz, translated from the Arabic by Jonathan Wright Basma Abdel Aziz’s Here Is A Body begins, appropriately enough, with a chapter that is all about the corporeal. In vivid, fast-paced prose focused on immediate sensations – sound and smell in particular – the reader isContinue reading ‘They’re the heads and we’re the bodies’ [book review]

‘I prefer the edges’ [book review]

A review of The Frightened Ones by Dima Wannous, translated from the Arabic by Elisabeth Jaquette The clue comes fairly late on in the novel. ‘I don’t dare delve into the depths of things, I prefer the edges. Where I can be poised to escape.’ So says Suleima, the narrator of Dima Wannous’ The FrightenedContinue reading “‘I prefer the edges’ [book review]”

‘The only way to arrive at the truth’ [book review]

A review of Minor Detail by Adania Shibli, translated from the Arabic by Elisabeth Jaquette It could seem like a relatively minor book, Adania Shibli’s third novel. With its plain blue Fitzcarraldo cover and svelte 112 pages, Minor Detail comes across as unimposing, a novella to be consumed within the space of a couple ofContinue reading “‘The only way to arrive at the truth’ [book review]”

The Monthly Booking: July 2020

It was my birthday last month, which means that my shelves are happily groaning under the weight of yet more books to read. As such, I once again have a themeless reading month – it’s my aim to get my to-be-read shelf down to a manageable size before I buy anything new, although given theContinue reading “The Monthly Booking: July 2020”