Sarah Irving

I do things with words, mainly English and Arabic

New review: Raba’i al-Madhoun’s The Lady from Tel Aviv

Electronic Intifada, 2nd August 2013

The novel uses the account of this return journey as a framing device for his life story, told with a perceptive wit and verve which raises the novel well above the average mock-biographical narrative.
Some of this difference comes from Raba’i al-Madhoun’s writing style, peppered with vivid metaphors and descriptions. Walid’s mother “murmurs her disappointments to herself while folding them in the wrinkles and creases of her bedclothes.” Israel “purchased Gazan lives by the year and in bulk. It bought bronzed Gazan forearms” for its factories and construction sites.
An Israeli officer begins to “build settlements in [Walid’s] mind,” while the distantly-remembered manager of a cinema in Khan Younis sits with his “watermelon body” to make sure no boys sneak into risqué Egyptian films.

The full article is here.

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