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Praise for the Women of the Family
Mahmoud Shukair; translated by Paul Starkey

published 2018 5.25" x 8" • 224 pages
ISBN 9781623719845 • paperback • $15.00

A TALE OF A BEDOUIN CLAN THROUGH THE EYES OF ITS WOMEN

SHORTLISTED FOR THE INTERNATIONAL PRIZE FOR ARABIC FICTION 2016

Praise for the Women of the Family is a story of the women of the Al-Abd al-Lat clan, which has left the desert and is preparing to leave its Bedouin customs behind. The women of the clan struggle with these changes and many scorn those embracing modern life: when Rasmia accompanies her husband to a party, Najma wears a dress and Sana gets a tan on her white legs, they set malicious tongues wagging; meanwhile, Wadha, the sixth wife of Mannan, the chief of the clan, still believes that the washing machine and television are inhabited by evil spirits.
        Set after the nakba (the Palestinian exodus from what is now Israel) in a time of political and social change, the novel witnesses the rapid advance of modernity and the seeds of conflict beginning to grow in 1950s Palestine. It also shows why the liberation of the land would be impossible in a society that treats its women unjustly and denies them the right to dignity and equality with men.

Mahmoud Shukair is a Palestinian writer, born in Jabal al-Mukabbar, Jerusalem, in 1941. He writes short stories and novels for adults and young adults. He is the author of forty-five books, six television series, and four plays. His stories have been translated into several languages, including English, French, German, Chinese, Mongolian, and Czech. He has occupied leadership positions within the Jordanian Writers' Union and the Union of Palestinian Writers and Journalists. In 2011, he was awarded the Mahmoud Darwish Prize for Freedom of Expression. He has spent his life between Beirut, Amman and Prague and now lives in Jerusalem. 

Paul Starkey has translated works by Adania Shibli, Mansoura Ez Eldin, Youssef Rakha, Edwar al-Kharrat, and others. He was Winner of the 2015 Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for his translation of The Book of the Sultan’s Seal by Youssef Rakha. 

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