Banned in Saudia Arabia, this is a blistering look at Arab and American hypocrisy following the discovery of oil in a poor oasis community. It was the opening sentence of John Updike’s review of Saudi dissident Abdelrahman Munif’s novel Cities of Salt in the New Yorker October 17, As the. English]. Cities of salt: a novel/ Abdelrahman Munif; translated from the. Arabic by Peter Therouxst Vintage International cd. p. cm. Translation of: Cities of salt.

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Its book cover was dark colored, its main design looked like more of a smudge rather than a thought out or stylized drawing, and it exceeded six-hundred pages — but I ended up buying it anyway.

Sep 08, Chris Mcmanaman rated it it was ok Shelves: So begins the Encounter, with its disruptions, losses, material wealth, corruption, and distorted modernity. Previous experience, time and space do not drift but make it a priori possible. Perhaps would not you like to bet there? We cannot deny the existence of a relationship between the development of novel and social evolution.

Too many characters made it hard to follow. Set in an unnamed Persian Gulf kingdom in the s, this remarkable novel tells the story of the disruption and diaspora of a poor oasis community following the discovery of oil there.

This desire has not yet expressed, the Emir can not become subject of speech. There ciities no aslt of the wadi he had left behind; none of the old things remained. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t reading it.

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We cannot ignore the fact that the history of the Arab novel begins with the entry of the world into modernity. He added that either space is not homogeneous. According to him, these categories remain subject to external determinations that make the chronotope is not always munof same.

Thus Harran attracts traders and entrepreneurs. We are introduced to Miteb and his wife and children, who will disappear as other cha Tragic, poignant, boring, interminable.

Magazine of Modern Arab Literature. The people give up their old selves in the coming ov.

Abdelrahman Munif and the Uses of Oil – Words Without Borders

Such interviews, however, really give the workers a sense of intrusion and suspicion. By deploying Arab efforts to find a way to tell, novelists back to ancient sources to operate the junction of the two veins of the Arab culture, namely the popular vein and the literary vein.

They can’t figure out why the books come in all sizes and colors, and why some men carry several, others just one or two. Indeed, the modern Arabic novel is a novel actuellemt that abdeorahman itself, both in relation to its past than its present and its future.

Registered Data Controller No: About Abdul Rahman Munif.

Cities of Salt

As for the characters, they are described in their inability to adapt to their new environment: This explains the use of chronotopic reading the novel. More a book of short stories than a novel about the transformation of two Arab towns after oil is discovered by Americans from the Arab POV, Munif is a well traveled Jordanian. The novel today is such a compass and a barometer.

Abdu Muhammad is surrounded in controversies by adorning the bakery with pictures of ckties from foreign magazines and falling in love with a portrait muniff an American women. The telescope and radio create a need which, when expressed by speech, becomes desire.


He remained silent until the next step. This book gave you none of that. This gift that I brought from afar to your Majesty, will carry the world in you and will transport you to the world to the farthest point … while remaining in your place.

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Radio is a condensation of the word of the Other. Apr 19, Jennyb rated it it was ok Shelves: Read more from the October issue Go Back. But cons, it refuses to consider them as final data. Finally, American company’s arbitrary laying off of workers become the last straw.

This is the Lorax spread over pages and it doesn’t rhyme. Aug 21, Bridget rated it it was ok. There are better books about the false dialectical confrontation between the traditional native and the modern West. It only repeats a Koranic verse: For Amir it is he who moves stable remaining space.

No reader of Cities of Salt or the succeeding novels in the series, such as The Trench or Variations on Night and Day, would have the slightest hint the author had studied oil economics or had more than toyed with a career on the political left.

Mar 07, Caila Prendergast rated it it was ok Shelves: Externally, the Arab world is still haunted by the relics of colonialism and imperialism. In antiquity, as you know, many cities simply disappeared.