okyrhoe's Reviews > Dubai Tales

Dubai Tales by Mohammad al Murr
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's review
Nov 13, 2009

did not like it
bookshelves: bookcrossing, dubai
Read in November, 2009

There's a level of disconnect between the literary traditions of Europe and the Middle East. These stories are 'Arabic' in the sense that the written text follows the style of a longstanding oral tradition (whereas contemporary short stories in the 'West' have evolved to emphasize the written word/text/form).
The narrator's point of view determines the voice and tone of Murr's stories - all except for the last one, which stands out from the rest of the collection for it first person point of view and introspective tone (and is thus more 'familiar' in style as a 'short story').
Even though this oral tradition is one I am familiar with, still I was unable to suspend my critical judgment, and so I found fault with the repetitive ironic twists saved for the final lines of each story. These last minute plot reversals (or rather, the withholding of a truth by the narrator till the concluding moment) underscored a didactic tone that I found unnervingly reminiscent of fables and other moral tales.

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