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3.19  ·  Rating details ·  37 ratings  ·  7 reviews
Talismano is a novelistic exploration of writing seen as a hallucinatory journey through half-remembered, half-imagined cities—in particular, the city of Tunis, both as it is now, and as it once was. Walking and writing, journey and journal, mirror one another to produce a calligraphic, magical work: a palimpsest of various languages and cultures, highlighting Abdelwahab M ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published May 3rd 2011 by Dalkey Archive Press
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Average rating 3.19  · 
Rating details
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MJ Nicholls
Jul 09, 2019 marked it as sampled
Read up to p.60. This Tunisian novel is too recondite and opaque for me, although the prose is an impressive netsuke of splendour on the sentence-making front. Here is a pleasing sample: For where does the writing begin? The body, surrounded by events and books, spills back into the world words of another kind, as it keeps accumulating and expending, inscribing a mirror image of itself, testifying as to all the coincident details, raising a looking glass where the body’s indescribable wealth and ...more
Nov 18, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: مغربيات
An obscene vaudeville de mauvais goût, where a few sentences were a light to his obscure writing.
I've heard of him during a meeting, a colleague praising the book to be as entrancing as Machiavels The Prince... I jumped on the name kept it, since I needed some outsider recommendations...
But I'm disappointed, the foreword promised more to this book than a mere juxtaposed words as épistolaire as Edmon Amran El Maleh texts (while those had a decent train of thoughts still)...
I was desperate to read
Feb 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
an absolutely stunning lyric
Talismano, which was originally published in French by Éditions Sindbad in 1987, must have been quite a lot of work (and perhaps also quite a lot of fun) to translate. In her introduction, Jane Kuntz calls the book “willfully cryptic” and talks about how Meddeb’s language is a French inflected by Arabic, and not just Arabic, but classical Arabic and then also Tunisian dialect, “the latter being a delicious mixture of Arabic, Berber, Italian, and French” (V, XI). Kuntz also notes that Meddeb’s “i ...more
Jennifer Pletcher
Feb 23, 2021 rated it it was ok
Difficult read that I admit I skimmed through. I got the general idea, but the stream of consciousness type books have never been attractive to me. I love when stories are part autobiographical or at least containe memories of the author. But this one hardly held my attention.
Stephanie Hartley
Jul 11, 2016 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 27, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: globalread
Global Read Challenge: 30 Tunisia

This book made me want to go to Tunis for sure, and there were individual paragraphs that were beautiful, but the stream of conscious prose made it difficult to read.
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Abdelwahab Meddeb (1946 – 5 November 2014) was an award-winning French-language poet, novelist, essayist, translator, editor, cultural critic, political commentator, radio producer, public intellectual and professor of comparative literature at the University of Paris X-Nanterre.

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