Fiction in Translation
English edition  
208 pp.
12.5X20 cm
ISBN 9789774166365
For sale worldwide



A Libyan Novel Ibrahim al-Koni
Translated by William M. Hutchins

The tale of one man’s quest and survival in the Sahara Desert, set in the framework of Tuareg mythology

A Tuareg youth ventures into trackless desert on a life-threatening quest to find the father he remembers only as a shadow from his childhood, but the spirit world frustrates and tests his resolve. For a time, he is rewarded with the Eden of a lost oasis, but eventually, as new settlers crowd in, its destiny mimics the rise of human civilization. Over the sands and the years, the hero is pursued by a lover who matures into a sibyl-like priestess. The Libyan Tuareg author Ibrahim al-Koni, who has earned a reputation as a major figure in Arabic literature with his many novels and collections of short stories, has used Tuareg folklore about Anubis, the ancient Egyptian god of the underworld, to craft a novel that is both a lyrical evocation of the desert’s beauty and a chilling narrative in which thirst, incest, patricide, animal metamorphosis, and human sacrifice are more than plot devices. The novel concludes with Tuareg sayings collected by the author in his search for the historical Anubis from matriarchs and sages during trips to Tuareg encampments, and from inscriptions in the ancient Tifinagh script in caves and on tattered manuscripts. In this novel, fantastic mythology becomes universal, specific, and modern.
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Ibrahim al-Koni was born in Libya in 1948. A Tuareg who writes in Arabic, he spent his childhood in the desert and learned to read and write Arabic when he was twelve. He is the author of many novels, including Gold Dust, The Puppet, and The Seven Veils of Seth (AUC Press, 2008, 2009, 2010). He was awarded the Sheikh Zayed Prize for Literature in 2008. William M. Hutchins, professor in the philosophy and religion department at Appalachian State University, is the principal translator of Naguib Mahfouz’s Cairo Trilogy, and the translator of numerous other works of Arabic fiction. He was awarded the 2013 Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation for his translation of A Land without Jasmine by Wajdi al-Ahdal.

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“A true journey into the human psyche.”—Cairo Magazine//endoftext//endoftext

“The novel has many levels, all attempting to unravel the complexities of obligation and customs that delineate how relationships are made between father and son, mother and son, then brother and sister, and man and woman, and how these relationships can prosper and endure with man living in a changing society. The desert setting is al-Koni’s strength: its expanse, desolation and mystery is powerfully evoked. At once a personal story, the legend of a god-like mythical hero, a mystical tale of demons, dreams and metamorphosis, as well as a parable of human civilization.”—Margaret Obank, BANIPAL No. 23, Summer 2005

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Also available by this author

Gold Dust ISBN 9789774167393
Gold Dust ISBN 9789774161438
The New Oasis ISBN 9789774166488
The Puppet ISBN 9789774164200
The Scarecrow ISBN 9789774167447
The Seven Veils of Seth ISBN 9789774162220
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