The Mother and the Motherland in Arab Literature

Moroccan novelist Mohammed Berrada’s Lu’bat al Nisyan (The Game of Forgetting, 1987) begins with “In the Beginning was the Mother.”   The main character in the novel, Hadi, is a leftist journalist suffering from a midlife crisis, disillusioned on the communal level by the deteriorating political situation in Morocco, and devastated on a personal level by the death of his mother, Lala Lghalya. Hadi's mother is referred to as “indispensable, like salt in food” and represented in terms that depict h … [Read more...]

Abeer Esber: For Wrong Reasons, Easier for Arab Women to Publish

This was written by M. Lynx Qualey and originally appeared at Arabic Literature (In English).After all the kerfuffle about how many Arabic Booker nominees use the girls’ room instead of the boys’ (and how this is proof of literary discrimination), I appreciate Syrian author Abeer Esber, writing on Qantara:“In my view, this gender discussion has nothing to do with good literature.”Well, perhaps not nothing, but the links are certainly more complicated than “fewer women on your prize list” = … [Read more...]