Arabic Literature
English edition  
Sep  2012
128 pp.
Paperback
12.5X20 cm
$14.95
LE75
ISBN 9789774165665
For sale worldwide

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Life on Hold

A Saudi Arabian Novel Fahd al-Atiq
Translated by Jonathan Wright

A look inside life in Riyadh, where a family grapples with the dichotomies of modern society, where affluence does not necessarily bring with it fulfillment and happiness

Riyadh is a city of masks, a city “like a pressure cooker that’s about to explode,” a city that sleeps on a pile of words that no one dares utter. Saudi society has split into two camps, one adopting the slogan that God is strict in punishment, the other that God is merciful and forgiving. In the background the media trumpets that everything is perfect. Saudi writer Fahd al-Atiq explores this world through the character of Khaled, whose dysfunctional life, humdrum but rich in memories and introspection, bridges the gap between the old impoverished world of Najd and the consumerism of the years after the various oil booms, symbolized in this novel by the family’s move from the lively back streets of the old city to an isolated dream villa in the new suburbs, where their dreams are never quite fulfilled and their lives remain permanently ‘on hold.’
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Fahd al-Atiq was born and lives in Saudi Arabia. He is the author of five collections of short stories and two novels. Life on Hold is his first book to appear in English. Jonathan Wright is the translator of On the State of Egypt by Alaa Al Aswany (AUC Press, 2011). He was awarded the 2013 Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation for his translation of Azazeel by Youssef Ziedan.

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"Fahd AL-Atiq has captured the soul of Riyadh and he excels in describing both, the cityʼs elusive atmosphere and life in the old days."—Lisa Kaaki, Arab News

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