Arabic Literature
English edition  
Mar  2008
180 pp.
Hardbound
12.5X20 cm
$17.95
LE100
ISBN 978 977 416 143 8
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Gold Dust

Ibrahim al-Koni
Translated by Elliott Colla

A Libyan novel of the Sahara Desert from the author of Anubis

Rejected by his tribe and hunted by the kin of the man he killed, Ukhayyad and his thoroughbred camel flee across the desolate Tuareg deserts of the Sahara. Between bloody wars against the Italians in the north and famine raging in the south, Ukhayyad rides for the remote rock caves of Jebel Hasawna. There, he says farewell to the mount who has been his companion through thirst, disease, lust, and loneliness. Alone in the desert, haunted by the prophetic cave paintings of ancient hunting scenes and the cries of jinn in the night, Ukhayyad awaits the arrival of his pursuers and their insatiable hunger for blood and gold. Gold Dust is a classic story of the brotherhood between man and beast, the thread of companionship that is all the difference between life and death in the desert. It is a story of the fight to endure in a world of limitless and waterless wastes, and a parable of the struggle to survive in the most dangerous landscape of all: human society.

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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 studied comparative literature at the Gorky Institute in Moscow and then worked as a journalist in Moscow and Warsaw. His novel Anubis was published by the American University in Cairo Press in 2005, and another novel, The Bleeding of the Stone, has also appeared in English. In 2008 he received the Sheikh Zayed Prize for Literature for his novel Nida’ ma kan ba‘idan (Calling the distant).In 2010, he received in Cairo the Arab Novel Award and dedicated the value of the prize to the children of the Tuareg tribes from which he originally hails. Elliott Colla teaches comparative literature at Brown University. He is the author of Conflicted Antiquities and the translator of The Heron by Ibrahim Aslan (AUC Press, 2005) and Poor by Idris Ali (AUC Press, 2007). He was runner up in the 2009 Saif Ghobash–Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation for his translation of Gold Dust.

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Reviews

“In Gold Dust [Al-Koni] takes us on a unique journey deep into the desert, an environment whose detailed and exquisite depiction he has made very much his own… This excellent translation now joins the as yet small repertoire of works in English translation by one of Arabic fiction’s most original voices.”—Roger Allen

"The Libyan Tuareg novelist and short story writer Ibrahim al-Koni, whose work is deeply rooted in his desert origins, is one of the most original and innovative authors writing in Arabic. . . . Al-Koni's descriptive powers and the urgency of his narrative make Gold Dust [italic] a gripping, moving tale that sweeps the reader on towards its tragic conclusion."—Banipal

"Imagine Cormac McCarthy's savage lyricism in a Paul Bowles desert landscape and you begin to enter the bleakly beautiful world of this mesmerising, fable-like novel."—The Independent

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