Alex's Reviews > Leo Africanus

Leo Africanus by Amin Maalouf
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's review
Sep 02, 2012

did not like it
Read from September 02 to 10, 2012

Right, so after having read Leo Africanus I've kind of confirmed what I've suspected for a while now. Maaloufs body of work that I've thus far read varies widely in subject, and I've found each of the books to read vary differently. That is to say that even when taking into account the diverse nature of these books I have not found in them a consistent voice and style specific to Amin Maalouf.
'Big deal' you say, right? Well it kinda pisses me off. 'The Rock of Tanois': simply amazing. 'In the Name of Identity': great shit. 'The Crusades Through Arab Eyes': yeah, okay, why not. 'Leo Africanus': WTF was that Amin? I'll tell you what: 360 pages of "meh", that's what. I literally just finished the book, went to the restroom, came back and said to myself "what the hell did I just read"?
Now, before I get you whipped into a frenzy, I believe I've identified the root of this devolution. Amin writes all of his books in French and they are subsequently translated into English (even though Maalouf is fluent in English). Further still, each of his books has been translated into English by a different person! This being said, I think the human we have to blame here is not Amin but rather a Mr. Peter Sluglett.
So, while in the end Leo Africanus is a boring read at best, we can't all go and blame Amin Maalouf for concussion inducing damage his book will do to your brain . Obviously the failing lies at Pete's feet.

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