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I Sweep the Sun Off Rooftops

3.57  ·  Rating Details ·  262 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
Since the U.S. publication of Women of Sand and Myrrh--which has now sold more than 35,000 copies and was selected as one of the Fifty Best Books of 1992 by Publishers Weekly--Hanan al-Shaykh has attracted an ever larger following for her dazzling tales of contemporary Arab women. In these seventeen short stories--eleven of which are appearing in English for the first time ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published August 17th 1998 by Anchor (first published 1994)
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Mar 02, 2013 Sue rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sue by: MENA
I had high hopes for this book of short stories based in Lebanon and started reading with some of those hopes fulfilled. Gradually I found a certain sameness creeping in, primarily of writing style and tone, negativity toward most "others" in whichever protagonists' life and constant wistfulness, dreaminess. Perhaps this comes of living in a war zone. This would not account for the style itself which sometimes seems to bludgeon the reader with its words.

There were a few stories I liked, primaril
Bel Murphy
Some of these short stories were very engaging, for instance 'the Marriage Fair', The Land of Dreams' and 'The Funfair'. Others were less so, with story lines that didn't appeal to me, most notably 'A Season of Madness' and the story from which the book gets its title: 'I Sweep the Sun off Rooftops'. There were some interesting insights into different cultures and I'm glad I persevered with the collection.
Alix Méav
The one story that stood-out from all of the other stories in this book was "Apple." An absolutely heartbreaking and beautiful story of a girl who never receives a suitor and instead is faced with the social stigma of being an old maid in her village.
Maria Tinawi
Nov 13, 2011 Maria Tinawi rated it really liked it
This book portrays the lives of women in the modern arab world. Each chapter talks about a different family in a different country; jumping from Lebanon, to Egypt, to Yemen, and so on. The events happening in the chapters, wherever they are in the Middle East, are very realistic, and could happen to anybody at any time. The fact that the main characters are women in each chapter, shows the significance of the roll women play in the Arab World. Feminism and a woman's needs are recognised, and con ...more
Kay Hart
May 07, 2011 Kay Hart rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this collection of stories and in particular A Girl Called Apple I found really touching and thought-provoking. It raises issues of culture in an isolated village and rituals practised to invite suitors for daughters of marriagable age. Apple's family is portrayed as loving and kind, even when they can't quite fathom why she is so resistant to marriage. Neither can Apple. It was the most memorable in this admirable collection.
The stories are insightful portraying various issues surroun
Nakib Hoq
Jun 04, 2012 Nakib Hoq rated it liked it
I picked up this book from the local library just because I was intrigued by the name of the author. Yes, sometimes I do pick up books just because the author has an exotic name. It helps me to expose myself to different perspectives and different cultures that I have never been exposed to. And so teh Arab name really attracted me!

I sweep the sun off rooftops is a collection of short stories by the Lebanese female author. Dealing with sexuality, feminism and stereotyped Arab women the characters
♥ Ibrahim ♥
Feb 05, 2013 ♥ Ibrahim ♥ rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature

إن كان الأدب مرآة عصره وهو حقًا كذلك فقد جاء أدب حنان الشيخ يصدق واقعنا العربي تمام الصدق بدون تكلف ولا افتعال، وكل هذا ممزوج بخفة دم ومرح يدفعاننا على الانفجار ضاحكين لأن ما تقوله هو الصدق ذات الصدق ولا شيء غير الصدق في واقع نعرفه جيدًا ولا زلنا نتنفسه ويحيا فينا ويسري فينا سريان الدم في العروق.

ما آخذه على أستاذتنا الفاضلة وأحسبها عليها ولا أقول أحسبه لها هو إسرافها في استخدام الصور الأدبية والتشبيهات دون داعي. ما خلا ذلك فيبدو لي أني أدمنت حروفها أتمتع بالكثير مما تكتب حتى إنها قد صرفتني عما أ
Oct 15, 2007 Jennifer rated it really liked it
This one grew on me as I read through it; it's another one worth reading twice. It's nice to read a different kind of book from time to time.
Dec 17, 2013 Molly rated it it was amazing
Nearly every story is this collection is a gem, and the writing is exceptionally terse and powerful. Young children on an Oil compound in the middle east are horrified to learn that their Indian servants have been cooking their pet rabbits, their distress calling into question the treatment of servants and the self-serving naivete of children. A woman moves from Morocco to London and learns the humiliations of freedom. Another woman wants to get a divorce but cannot ask for one, so she feigns in ...more
Jane Routley
Aug 20, 2016 Jane Routley rated it really liked it
Shelves: literary
I've had this book 15 years and finally took it on holidays this year intending to read it and leave it. Of course I didn't. The writing was wonderful sensuous and observant and the stories evocative portraits of the lives of contemporary Arab women without being overly grim. Like all short story collections you like some more than others I especially liked Louloulah a portrait of a woman generously in tun with her limited traditional life style and I sweep the sun off roof tops a wonderful port ...more
Aug 14, 2011 Coco rated it really liked it
Shelves: culture, anthologies
A very enjoyable collection of short stories from the Arab world. Most of them involve the relationship dynamics of the Arab culture--men/women, marriage, conservative/liberal dress, Europeans/Arabs, etc. Many of them also talk about how Western culture has snuck in and what people think of it--some become obsessed and totally abandon their own culture only to find later they've denied themselves, some reject it totally, some in between. An interesting look at women, veils, sand, and what happen ...more
I was curious to read stories about the Middle East and picked up the book enthusiatically at the library. Unfortunately, what I got was below my expectations.

The quality of the little stories in the book varies greatly. It seems that the stories have been written at different times in the author's life, some are memories told through a child's voice, some are coming of age and others about marriage/sex, etc.. I thought that at times the author has described the role of women in a negative way a
Diane S ☔
Mar 22, 2013 Diane S ☔ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book, about woman in the Middles East in present day, trying to keep their traditions alive while entering into a new world. Loved the visuals and the writing, learning about their cultures and the way they interacted in their daily lives. The first three stories were my favorites, but really there was not one that I disliked. Glad that I read this book, not one I would have picked up had it not been a book group read.
Jun 12, 2011 Biogeek rated it liked it
While I am not sure if the comparisons by some reviewers to Atwood are appropriate (are they ever?), I did enjoy this collection of short stories focused on the experience of Arab women. The locations are as varied as these stories. I love the first story in the volume, a study in method in madness.
Feb 22, 2012 Creative rated it it was ok
احببت بعض القصص.
فريز احمر. عن زيارة زوجة سجين لزوجها.
اكنس الشمس عن السطوح. عن مغتربة غير متعلمه وفقيرة لبلاد الضباب
حارس العذارى. عن قزم ومحبته للدير الراهبات.
الغاية من السفر. حظ تعيس لرجل مع النساء داخل وخارج بلاده.

وتقدم ملحوظ. عن سيدة نقل لها زوجها عدوى جنسية من علاقاته وانتقامها منه.

Dec 20, 2016 Khader rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
لم استمتع بقراءة هذه القصص، رغم ان بعض المقتطفات كانت جميلة ولكن على مدار سردها لهذه القصص لم تنجح حنان الشيخ في جذبي لأي منها
شعرت بحالة من الملل والرتابة صاحبت هذه المجموعة القصصية لربما لانها اعتمدت على الكثير من الخيال والدراما.
Mar 20, 2008 Nancy rated it really liked it
Short stories from the Middle East that give a peek into the lives of women and their relationships, struggles, and the power of tradition and culture. This book brought back to me the sounds, smells, sensations, and impressions of a recent visit.
Nojood Alsudairi
لحنان اسلوب سلس مميز خصوصا في هذا الكتاب الذي حوى قصص قصيرة عن نساء من أنحاء العالم العربي: لبنان، المغرب، اليمن. تمنيت لو تحرت الدقة في اللهجات. تمنيت أيضا لو لم تكن تدعو للحرية في الحب بهذا الشكل المبتذل بشكل معه تسمح للمرأة بالخيانة لتنال "شرف" الحب
Latoufa Al Asfour
تُغريني عناوين الكتب دائمًا. أُصبت بالخيبة لأنني كنت في مزاج أن أشرع في قراءة رواية.. ثم اتضح أن الكتاب عبارة عن قصص قصيرة. نجمة للعنوان، والأخرى لأنني أحببت بعض القصص.
معظم أحداث القصص جرت في لبنان ومصر وبلاد الشام والمغرب. ومعظمها كان الألم فيها جميلًا.. والأخرى كانت مجرد قصص، لا سيئة ولا جيدة.
Sujit Banerjee
Jan 07, 2016 Sujit Banerjee rated it it was amazing
An EXCELLENT read... over a period of time this book has got lost but this collection of short stories on Arab women's life is one fantastic book. Go for it if you like all kind of "reality" fiction.
Casey Leidig
Oct 29, 2016 Casey Leidig rated it really liked it
Read A Season of Madness
Rehab Qasim
Jul 22, 2015 Rehab Qasim rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
و يستمر الندم لشرائي مجموعة من كتب الكاتبة بعد اعجابي باول كتاب قرأته لها
لا يوجد مضمون للقصص ولا ترابط
Mar 26, 2013 Lauren rated it liked it
I know for many people Al-Shaykh is all that but I find her stories really heavy handed and unsubtle. Similar themes as Women of Sand and Myrrh and a little more variety here but I wanted more.
Jun 28, 2016 Martin rated it really liked it
An astonishingly beautiful collection of short stories.
ماكس الأيوبي
بعض للقصص تستحق القراءة و إعادة القراءة و البعض الاخر خيبة أمل لا غير
Feb 26, 2012 Laurie rated it liked it
1 or 2 stories were 4s but as a grouping I wasn't as impressed. Could have been the translation...
Jul 23, 2013 Amne rated it it was amazing
Hanan really portrays actual events that happen in these countries, as unreal as it may sound and as hard as the governments try to hide the truth, she brings it out
Jan 24, 2012 David rated it really liked it
Shelves: shiraz
A great insight into a different culture. Well written and has the feel of coming from the heart and mind of the author.
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Hanan Al-Shaykh (Arabic: حنان الشيخ) is a Lebanese journalist, novelist, short-story writer, and playwright.
Al-Shaykh was born into a conservative Shia' Muslim family. She received her primary education in Beirut, and later she attended the American College for Girls in Cairo.
Al-Shaykh began her journalism career in Egypt before returning to Lebanon. She has also lived in Saudi Arabia and is curr
More about Hanan Al-Shaykh...

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