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Arabesques: A Novel
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Arabesques: A Novel

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  133 ratings  ·  10 reviews
Available again, Arabesques is a classic, complex novel of identity, memory, and history in the Middle East and points beyond—including Iowa and New York City. Anton Shammas, the first Arab to write a novel in Hebrew, has given us a riveting look at a people we hear too little about: Palestinian Christians. Arabesques was chosen as one of the best books of 1988 by the edit ...more
Paperback, 263 pages
Published April 27th 2001 by University of California Press (first published April 1st 1986)
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This is the first ever Hebrew-language novel by an Arab author. It is a chronicle of an Arab Christian family living in the Galilee, in a village built on the ruins of a Crusader castle, which in turn was built on the ruins of an ancient Jewish village, from the 1930s into the 1980s. A character is angry at the world's indignation at the Sabra and Shatilla massacre, in which Christians murdered Muslims; he says that when Muslims murdered Christians, the world didn't care. A girl can see the futu ...more
The premise is a riff on My Antonia, by Willa Cather. This book explores identity so well, I've read it and re-read and I always get something new out of it.
A book dealing with family, memory, stories, fact and truth, and the writing life...
I am sure i have not understood all the narrative plays at work here... need to go more into it...

On a side note, the book was suggested to me by a professor, in my first semester, first class ever in the US, only after one conversation about literature and writing and one's choices, and now more than two years later that i have finally read the book, i am amazed at how brilliant his suggestion was. I am so luck
Finished Arabesques which was really wonderful though I couldn't decide whether or not to take careful notes, make a chronology and a few family trees...moreFinished Arabesques which was really wonderful though I couldn't decide whether or not to take careful notes, make a chronology and a few family trees or to give myself over to the highly circular and poetic narrative that doubled back and repeated itself with much twinning of characters and plot. I did a little of both Fantastic book and an ...more
Fascinating combination of myth, memoir, and politics. Shammas (an Israeli Arab Christian) goes into grand detail and manages to keep all the threads of identity and dopplegangers together. This book does a great job of showing the nuances present in the land once known as Palestine and is worth reading if you are curious about that part of the world.
Mirka Breen
The language is vivid and the flavor of the original (I read it in Hebrew first, and unique brand from the Arab-Israeli author) is like no other book. The translation misses the linguistic flavor, but none of the beauty of village life and the quirky characters and events Shammas so poetically describes.
A little confusing with the multiple characters, but it's beautifully written and lyrical in its descriptions of locations around the world.
Read my review at my blog.
An incredibly intricate story told beautifully with expert precision.
Manar Makhoul
In the 'Top 10' novels I've ever read!
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