Book Size: 5.25" x 8"

Pages: 224

Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781566566742

Imprint: Interlink Books

Edition: 1

Translator: Paula Haydar & Adnan Haydar

Release date: 2007

Category:

Learning English

A Novel

By

$ 12.95

“The two Haydars have rendered a superbly seamless translation and have masterfully captured, and kept up with, the pace of the text. There is a maturity to al-Daif’s work; this faultless translation should be acknowledged as one of the best of Arabic fiction reads currently on the market.” – Banipal: Magazine of Modern Arab Literature

About this book

No matter how hard Rachid tries to recreate himself, to become educated and worldly- to "learn English"- it is impossible for this hip Beiruti with his cell phone and high-speed internet to sever the connection to his past in the Lebanese village of Zgharta, known for its "tough guys" and old-fashioned clan mentality.

When the news of his father's murder, a case of blood revenge, reaches him by chance through a newspaper report, it drags him inescapably back into the world of his past. Suddenly he is plunged once again into the endless questions that plagued his childhood: questions about his parents' marriage and his own legitimacy, questions he would rather have forgotten and which threaten not only his new lifestyle, but now, according to the protocol of vendetta culture, his very life.

The accomplished al-Daif hooks his readers from page one of this, his ninth, novel- partly with pieces and fragments of suspense-filled plot and partly with his typically idiosyncratic narrator, whose bizarre stories, comical asides and uncannily perceptive comments on human nature lead us through this tantalizing, funny, and sober book about the hold the past has on Lebanon, and on us all.

Brand:

About the authors

Born in Lebanon in 1945, Rachid al-Daif is the acclaimed author of eleven novels and three volumes of poetry. Of the novels, three have been translated into English: Dear Mr. Kawabata, This Side of Innocence, and Passage to Dusk. He lives in Beirut, Lebanon, where he teaches Arabic literature at the Lebanese University.

Paula Haydar is Assistant Professor of Arabic at the University of Arkansas. She holds a PhD degree in comparative literature and an M.F.A. degree in literary translation. She has translated numerous novels by contemporary Lebanese, Palestinian, and Jordanian authors. Her translation of Lebanese novelist Jabbour Douaihy’s June Rain was selected as the highly commended runner-up of the 2014 Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation and also made the Daily Star’s list of Top Middle East Novels of 2014. Her translations of Lebanese authors also include three novels by Elias Khoury (Gates of the CityThe Journey of Little Gandhi, and The Kingdom of Strangers) and three novels by Rashid al-Daif (This Side of Innocence Learning English, and Who’s Afraid of Meryl Streep?). She has also translated Palestinian writer Sahar Khalifeh’s The End of Spring and Adania Shibli’s Touch(Interlink), and Jordanian writer Jamal Naji's Season of Martyrdom. Her most recent translation is Jabbour Douaihy's The American Quarter (Interlink 2018).

Adnan Haydar is professor of Arabic and comparative literature at the University of Arkansas. He has authored, co-authored, or co-edited six books, including Naguib Mahfouz: From Regional Fame to International Recognition. He has published many translations from Arabic, including Jabra Ibrahim Jabra's celebrated The Ship.

Reviews

“The two Haydars have rendered a superbly seamless translation and have masterfully captured, and kept up with, the pace of the text. There is a maturity to al-Daif’s work; this faultless translation should be acknowledged as one of the best of Arabic fiction reads currently on the market.” – Banipal: Magazine of Modern Arab Literature

“A riveting interior monologue by Lebanese novelist al-Daif penetrates the deep-seated anxiety of a middle-aged Beirut-based literature professor after he hears about his father’s tribal murder…The Haydars’ pristine translation captures Rashid’s conflictedness and leaves intact al-Daif’s wordplay, making this a fine introduction to Arabic fiction.” – Publishers Weekly

“[The] translation is a fluent rendering of the Arabic original and abley follows its meandering style, which imitates the inner thoughts of the novel’s protagonist, Rashid. The reader is not hooked to the story by a plot, for there is none that is developed in the manner of the traditional novel; the reader is rather hooked by the suspenseful narration itself which represents the thinking of Rashid. The novel’s action takes place entirely in Rashid’s head before he comes to a decision on what to do. Once he decides, the novel ends. …In the meantime, we as readers [are] enthralled by novelist Rachid al-Daif’s art of suspense, learn from Rashid’s train of thought and his memories. Paula and Adnan Haydar are to be congratulated for rendering into beautiful English a version of an interesting novel with symbolic meanings about the hold of the past on modern beings.” -Issa J Boullata, Ph.D., Digest of Middle East Studies

“This novel… carries the reader along by clear, flowing narrative, unbroken by chapters but touched with mystery and a dark humor. Suggestive of autobiography, it constructs an intriguing portrait of an individual fettered by his past and uncertain of his present, caught in an unending awareness of senseless violence.” -Elsa Marston, Multicultural Review

About the Author

Paula Haydar is Assistant Professor of Arabic at the University of Arkansas. She holds a PhD degree in comparative literature and an M.F.A. degree in literary translation. She has translated numerous novels by contemporary Lebanese, Palestinian, and Jordanian authors. Her translation of Lebanese novelist Jabbour Douaihy’s June Rain was selected as the highly commended runner-up of the 2014 Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation and also made the Daily Star’s list of Top Middle East Novels of 2014. Her translations of Lebanese authors also include three novels by Elias Khoury (Gates of the CityThe Journey of Little Gandhi, and The Kingdom of Strangers) and three novels by Rashid al-Daif (This Side of Innocence Learning English, and Who’s Afraid of Meryl Streep?). She has also translated Palestinian writer Sahar Khalifeh’s The End of Spring and Adania Shibli’s Touch(Interlink), and Jordanian writer Jamal Naji’s Season of Martyrdom. Her most recent translation is Jabbour Douaihy’s The American Quarter (Interlink 2018).

Adnan Haydar is professor of Arabic and comparative literature at the University of Arkansas. He has authored, co-authored, or co-edited six books, including Naguib Mahfouz: From Regional Fame to International Recognition. He has published many translations from Arabic, including Jabra Ibrahim Jabra’s celebrated The Ship.

Additional information

Author

al-Daif, Rachid

Edition

1

Inprint

Interlink Books

Pages

224

Type

PB

Translator

Haydar , Paula and Haydar , Adnan

Release date

2007

Author Home

Lebanon

Subtitle

A Novel

Format

5 1/4" x 8"

Reviews

"The two Haydars have rendered a superbly seamless translation and have masterfully captured , and kept up with , the pace of the text. There is a maturity to al-Daif's work; this faultless translation should be acknowledged as one of the best of Arabic fiction reads currently on the market." – Banipal: Magazine of Modern Arab Literature "å¢ "A riveting interior monologue by Lebanese novelist al-Daif penetrates the deep-seated anxiety of a middle-aged Beirut-based literature professor after he hears about his father's tribal murder…The Haydars' pristine translation captures Rashid's conflictedness and leaves intact al-Daif's wordplay , making this a fine introduction to Arabic fiction." – Publishers Weekly "å¢ "[The] translation is a fluent rendering of the Arabic original and abley follows its meandering style , which imitates the inner thoughts of the novel's protagonist , Rashid. The reader is not hooked to the story by a plot , for there is none that is developed in the manner of the traditional novel; the reader is rather hooked by the suspenseful narration itself which represents the thinking of Rashid. The novel's action takes place entirely in Rashid's head before he comes to a decision on what to do. Once he decides , the novel ends. …In the meantime , we as readers [are] enthralled by novelist Rachid al-Daif's art of suspense , learn from Rashid's train of thought and his memories. Paula and Adnan Haydar are to be congratulated for rendering into beautiful English a version of an interesting novel with symbolic meanings about the hold of the past on modern beings."å -Issa J Boullata , Ph.D. , Digest of Middle East Studies "å¢ "This novel… carries the reader along by clear , flowing narrative , unbroken by chapters but touched with mystery and a dark humor. Suggestive of autobiography , it constructs an intriguing portrait of an individual fettered by his past and uncertain of his present , caught in an unending awareness of senseless violence." -Elsa Marston , Multicultural Review

MainReview

"The two Haydars have rendered a superbly seamless translation and have masterfully captured, and kept up with, the pace of the text. There is a maturity to al-Daif's work; this faultless translation should be acknowledged as one of the best of Arabic fiction reads currently on the market." – Banipal: Magazine of Modern Arab Literature