Season of Migration to the North, Tayeb Salih
Tayeb Salih’s novel, written in a limpid, lyrical Arabic, deals, among other things, with the cultural clash between East and West. A tender, terrible story, set in rural Sudan, the story opens cinematically with the return of the narrator to his village ‘on a bend in the Nile’ and the appearance of an enigmatic stranger among the familiar faces….
The House of Rajani, Alon Hilu
Alon Hilu’s novel, set in the late 19th century in Ottoman Palestine, centres around the figure of an early Zionist settler, his less than content wife, a young Palestinian heir to an estate located roughly where modern Tel Aviv now stands, and his mother, a woman struggling to survive in the face of great change. It is a gothic tale of a doomed society, told in a strange, stunted Hebrew that emulates the stumbling, synthetic Hebrew of the revival period.
Miramar, Naguib Mahfouz
Perhaps the supreme novel of his career, Mahfouz’ Miramar is set in in the sixties, and takes a sour, if sympathetic, look at the Egypt of the lives of the residents of Pension Miramar, in Alexandria. Old age conflicts with youth, corruption competes with private probity, in a tale that reflects the various strata of Egyptian society in the period of Nasser and his socialist government.