Fiction in Translation
English edition  
192 pp.
15X23 cm
ISBN 9789774166068
Not for sale in North America


The Image, the Icon, and the Covenant

Sahar Khalifeh
Translated by Aida Bamia

A new paperback edition of the winner of the Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature

Documenting a historic struggle with fresh vision, Sahar Khalifeh has penned what is at once a re-casting of the story of the Holy Family, a lyrical ode to Arab Jerusalem, and a call for liberation, not just of a nation but of its individual women and men. After abandoning his beloved Mariam when she falls pregnant, and escaping her brothers’ bullets, Ibrahim abandons his own ideals and dreams of becoming a fiction writer, opting instead to follow the path of wealth and commercial success abroad approved by his father. Thirty years later, lonely and disillusioned, an older Ibrahim returns to Ramallah to retrace the past he tried to leave behind. He sets out on a long and frustrating quest to track down Mariam, which takes him from the West Bank to Israel. Along the way he encounters his son, Michael, a young man with spiritual powers that enable him to see what is unknown and find what has gone missing. The novel weaves religious and political symbolism into a story of love and loss. At its core is Ibrahim’s—the Palestinian’s—agonizing but unrelenting search for a home, a center, fulfillment that, despite material success, continues to be elusive.
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Sahar Khalifeh was born in Nablus in 1941 and is the author of eight novels, including Of Noble Origins (AUC Press, 2012). She holds a PhD in women’s studies and American literature from the University of Iowa. She divides her time between Amman and Nablus. Aida Bamia is professor emerita of Arabic language and literature at the University of Florida. She is the translator of a number of Arabic novels, including Heart of the Night by Naguib Mahfouz (AUC Press, 2011).

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“Through both character and place, the author invokes a sacred heritage that remains at once vital and powerful. Khalifeh's literary virtuosity has brought forth a unique work and a welcome addition to the contemporary Arab creative endeavor.”—Dr. Abdel Moneim Tallima//endoftext//endoftext

“Her characters are so real you can actually relate to them by mistaking them for someone you know.”—The Daily Star, Jordan//endoftext//endoftext

“Sahar Khalifeh is the Virginia Woolf of Palestinian literature.”—Börsenblatt//endoftext//endoftext

“A representative voice of Arab literature”—Frankfurter Allgemeine//endoftext//endoftext

“The one Arab novelist who has written one novel after another to show the inseparability of feminist issues from social and political concern is the Palestinian novelist Sahar Khalifeh, whom I consider the best Arab woman novelist in the twentieth century.”—Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban

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Also available by this author

Of Noble Origins ISBN 9789774165429
The End of Spring ISBN 9789774161186
The Inheritance ISBN 9789774249396
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