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The Stone of Laughter

3.48  ·  Rating Details ·  195 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
The Stone of Laughter is a virile novel which brings forth the contradictory history of a city under fire through the life and dilemmas of a gay man. It is a bold and radical novel, full of black humor and cynical observations about life in war-torn Beirut. In 1990, when it first appeared in Arabic, it was hailed by critics throughout the Arab world as the best novel set a ...more
Paperback, 210 pages
Published April 1st 1995 by Interlink Publishing Group (first published 1990)
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Nov 23, 2013 Hilal rated it really liked it
رواية أيقونية إلى حد كبير عن الحرب اللبنانية بالنظر إلى تاريخ صدورها في بداية التسعينيات من القرن الماضي. كان من الممكن أن تنزلق إلى خيارات سيئة مع الشخصية الرئيسية المثلية التي تبحث عن هويتها . لكنّ هدى بركات تتفادى ذلك باحتراف (لا عجب!). لقد طبّعت الرواية شخصية المثلي الباحث عن هويته الجنسية. وقدمت لنا مقاطع توصيفية فذة للشعور اللبناني الذي يعاد إنتاجه مع كل أزمة وآخرها تفجيرات الأسبوع الماضي في بيروت. من المذهل أن تقرأ عن شعور جماعي يعاود زياراته بين حين وآخر منذ خمس وعشرين سنة.
بخلاف فكرة اب
Tariq Alferis

.الفرق أنك تقرأ رواية عن الحرب الأهلية وأنت مش مجرب الوضع وبين أنك تقرأ رواية عن الحرب الأهلية وأنت عايش في نفس الوضع بكل تفاصيله .

لو قريت رواية زمان كانت حاتكون مملة وسيئة جدا ., لكن حاليا كل حديث عن وضع الحرب من قتل وتشريد يمثلني .

القضية الانسانية الموجودة في الرواية شئ شجاع من الكاتبة , لما تحط مشكلة جدلية في مضمون شبه تاريخي عن الحرب حايكون عندك شئ ممتاز .
Scott Cox
Jan 18, 2016 Scott Cox rated it really liked it
The author wrote this novel in a Beirut basement during the Lebanese civil war which broke out in 1975 between the Christians (Maronites) and the Muslim-PLO alliance. The protagonist is a male homosexual (Kahlil) who responds to the ravages of civil war with an obsession for cleanliness. He often withdraws into a world of reading and day dreaming of lovers who could make his world safe. Much of the novel seems disjointed and other-worldly. This fits with the picture that Barakat is trying to por ...more
Vampire Who Baked
Sep 05, 2016 Vampire Who Baked rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites, treasures
This has been one of the most compelling books I have read so far. A mix of genres- queer fiction + feminist writing + "Arab" literature + a spirited anti-war commentary- and the first Arab novel with a gay protagonist, this packs revelation after revelation in every page.

In no particular order, a few obvious-in-hindsight but beautifully articulated insights--

1. When you live in a region of instability, there's a constant undercurrent of fear even while performing day to day activities (even tho
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Apr 09, 2010 Kate rated it liked it
Read this in an Arabic literature class taught by Professor Hussein.

" . . . the street after the explosion was even more meek and peaceful, like a believer after he has said his prayers" (32).

"On his way home from the party Khalil passed underneath the balcony of the woman who was doggedly resisting the dirt that came up from the street . . . . she was standing on a high chair and was busy polishing the glass, busy with the irresistible love of life" (95).

"This is the most beautiful relationship
Feb 01, 2014 Aziza rated it it was ok
This novel won the Al-Naqid prize and is hailed as a “poignant portrayal of the Lebanese civil war” and a “must read.” However, much like with Assia Djebar’s Fantasia: An Algerian Cavalcade, I did not enjoy the overtly symbolic plot that was contrived to get across the point of the author. Barakat shows how the horrors of the Lebanese civil war of the 1990s and the heartbreak of being exiled and marginalized in his native country turn the homosexual, male protagonist into an aggressor as well. S ...more
Shahid Khan
Jun 07, 2015 Shahid Khan rated it liked it
An experimental novel (translated from Arabic) about a gay man, Khalil, going through the traumas of a war-weary world in Lebanon. It's not an easy translation to understand. A lot of the narrative is often ambiguous (switching back and forth between first and third person) and surreal, dotted with ellipsis and lucid dreams. It's not always clear where the stream-of-consciousness is streaming from.

I feel that Barakat tries to draw a parallel with the struggles of sexuality and the horrors and un
Mar 04, 2015 Margaret rated it it was ok
Not a favorite of mine. We also read this for my Arab literature and film class. Interesting in that it centers around an issue not often discussed in the Arab world - homosexuality. The main character, Khalil, is depicted as a very in-between character, not wholly man nor woman, child nor adult, ignorant nor knowledgeable. I think much of this novel was lost in translation. There is a distinct lack of punctuation, and an overabundance of ellipses ... which makes for a long and cumbersome read. ...more
Amanda Jaczkowski
Apr 09, 2014 Amanda Jaczkowski rated it liked it
I'm still not sure what to think of this book. The excessive use of adjectives definitely reflected the original Arabic style in which it was written. The storyline never seemed to progress anywhere - and in the last moments was intensely shocking. A view into Lebanese culture, including harsh politics yet avoiding a political agenda. I've never read anything like it - and am unsure whether I'd want to read more by this author without recommendation.

Read as book 10/50 for 2014 50 Book Challenge
Bath-sheba Lane
Mar 16, 2015 Bath-sheba Lane rated it it was amazing
Love this book! It's such an interesting read and I didn't want to put the book down. It's about so many things, most importantly war and living in it every day as a civilian, but also about homosexuality and losing loved ones. The ending kind of surprised me a bit too, in a good way. I like when a good has a surprise ending and is written well.
Dec 01, 2012 Greg rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Such an amazingly written book. I could not put it down. I was entranced by its amazing narrative and use of stream of consciousness to present an artistically original novel. A great book, indeed!
Nadine Araby
Oct 04, 2014 Nadine Araby rated it it was amazing
رواية رائعة تتابع هدى بركات تداعيات الحرب وما يفعله القصف والموت العبثي والعنف ثم اعتياد العنف وأثره في تشويه الإنسان حد التوحش، حد انتزاع الآدمية ذاتها، تفعل بركات هذا دون عنف في السرد بل رقة خالصة، ثراء في اللغة ورهافة في الوصف. رواية فعلا رائعة
أمل  نشوان
Aug 29, 2014 أمل نشوان rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
يؤسفني جداً على الوقت الذي أضعته وأنا أقرأ هذا الشيء !!
توقف عقلي عند الكثير من الأحرف ليجمعها ويلقي بها في القمامة .. بصدق أقدم أشد الأسف لوقتي وعقلي ، ومقعدي !
Katie M.
Dec 20, 2010 Katie M. rated it really liked it
Shelves: queer, 2010
Another powerful novel from Interlink World Fiction's excellent series of translated Arabic literature.
إيمان الشريف
رواية مقززة ويؤسفني أن تقوم وزارة الثقافة الأردنية بطباعة هذا الكتاب وعرضه بثمن رمزي في معرض "القراءة للجميع".
May 03, 2011 Tina. rated it really liked it
Rereading for paper writing. (5.2.2011)

Four-and-a-half stars, actually. A beautiful book. (4.2.2011)

منى كريم
One of the best Arab novels I read. A problematic and easy approach to queerness but nevertheless a great and humanizing account of the civil war.
Aug 27, 2008 Michelle rated it it was ok
Interesting account of life in Beirut during Lebanon's civil war from the perspective of a homosexual man who is in the closet. It moves really slowly. Too slowly. I'm having trouble finishing it.
Aug 05, 2015 Bachir added it
An intriguingly amazing novel, indeed.. especially when read in the original language (Arabic.. charming language.
Naila rated it it was amazing
Jan 11, 2012
Roba Salibi
Roba Salibi rated it really liked it
Jan 23, 2014
Shaun rated it really liked it
Aug 13, 2013
Marcia Lynx
Marcia Lynx rated it really liked it
Nov 19, 2010
Mehdi rated it it was ok
Apr 09, 2008
Lizzie rated it really liked it
Jan 01, 2014
Bodour rated it liked it
Dec 06, 2013
Gretchen rated it really liked it
Aug 18, 2011
Graham rated it it was ok
Mar 27, 2010
Andrew rated it really liked it
Mar 15, 2014
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Hoda Barakat (Arabic: هدى بركات) is an acclaimed Lebanese novelist who lived much of her life in Beirut and later moved to Paris, where she now resides. Her works, written in Arabic, have been translated into many languages.
Her first work Hajar al-Dahik (The Stone of Laughter), is the first Arabic work to have a gay man as its main character. Her third novel, Harit al-miyah (The Tiller of Waters),
More about Hoda Barakat...

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