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Preview — The Hakawati by Rabih Alameddine
Osama's grandfather was a hakawati, or storyteller, and his bewitching stor ...more
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Most of us are familiar with the fabled conversion stories, on the night Mario Vargas Llosa earned his law degree he picked up Brothers Karamazov and was bewitched, 24 hours later, having read all night and the next day he completed the tome and discovered that he was destined to be a novelist. What about Marx reading Hegel for days on end? Samuel Delany relates how he left his ...more
"...One thing I will admit however, is that this book suffers greatly from ADD. It is hard to get into it if you aren't a book lover. If the first sentence of "Listen. Allow me to be your God. Let me take you on a journey beyond imagining. Let me tell you a story" does not capture you, then you truly are a lost cause. In this book, you will feel joy, sorrow, fear, guilt, dread and regret in every page. You will laugh and cry at the same time. You will ...more
Here's what happened:
A few years ago I read several really glowing reviews of this book, and when I checked out plot summaries it seemed like a strong contender for something I would like. It has a magical, almost ...more
Hakawati is Arabic for storyteller, and the narrator of this tale is Osama al-Kharrat, a young Lebanese man who has returned to present day ...more
So consequently, I hated the weather in Indiana, then loved it, then was indifferent to it, then hated and loved again.
That pretty much sums up my experience reading The Hakawati as well.
This novel (?) is made up of stories upon stories upon stories, and everyone is a storyteller – even charact ...more
Radnja teče kroz više isprepletenih priča; priča koje se rađaju jedna iz druge i čine neprekidan niz sve do kraja knjige, pa i dalje.
Priče o (važnosti i kompleksnosti) obiteljskim vezama, te srednjoistočnim klasičnim ljubavima i avanturama.
Ono što je meni najbitnije: jako lijepo, dobro pisanje. Pisac ne smara nijednom u svih 660 stranica knjige. Željela sam da mogu brže čitati, toliko sam htjela saznati what happens next.
Svaki put k ...more
It sapped the joy of reading out of me. I could not find anything original or smart in this book; I am Lebanese, and I can understand that readers of other nationalities, who never checked a Lebanese blog before, might find what is written informative. But to me ...more
First, I love books about storytelling. Second, I love stories about places ...more
But when I was reading it to myself in peace and quiet, I found the novel strangely irresistible. The stories are unique and interesting, even occasionally funny, and present a pretty compelling view of another cult ...more
The Hakawati is more than just a good book: it's a diplomatic opportunity that invites non-Arabs to see beyond stereotypes and expose themselves to some of the nuance and complexity within the Arab world. Arab readers and others already familiar with the varied source material will find it transformed by Alameddine's imagination. The work garnered high praise for its literary merit, although some reviewers found the immense cast and mazelike structure confusing and wished for a closer focus on O...more
Unfortunately, I found the whole enterprise rather static, without a compelling through line that I could become engaged in. I was reading it for about six weeks, and never felt compelled to spend more time with it than a few minutes before be ...more
Have you ever read a book or heard a musical composition and had your faith in the superiority of mankind's intellect restored? Rabih Alameddine, a true hakawati, has delivered a work so splendidly rich and powerful, no other writing will match its caliber. Written with true Lebanese voice and smooth, precise imagery, The Hakawiti stands as my favorite book ever written.
The 500+ page novel covers a few days of Osama's visit, while artfully weaving folklore, legends, and mythology into the narrative and Osama's family ...more