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The Tiller of Waters

3.34  ·  Rating details ·  137 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
This spellbinding novel narrates the many-layered recollections of a hallucinating man in devastated Beirut. The desolate, almost surreal, urban landscape is enriched by the unfolding of the family sagas of Niqula Mitri and his beloved Shamsa, the Kurdish maid. Mitri reminisces about his Egyptian mother and his father who came back to settle in Beirut after a long stay in ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published October 15th 2004 by American University in Cairo Press (first published 1998)
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Ahmed Attef
رواية جميلة، يختلط فيها التاريخي بالإسطوري، تشبه كثيرا ما يكتبه أورهان باموق وأمين معلوف، العيب الوحيد فيها انها لم تفرد مساحة واسعة للحكاية أو القصة، كانت ستكون اجمل لو غطت حياة البطل بكل تفاصيلها من الساعة التى اكتشف فيها كيف جاء والداه الى بيروت الى الحد الذي انتهت إليه القصة..
A cool book about the Lebanese civil war. Poetic. Quasi-experimental. I want to read it in Arabic.
Nov 23, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
قصة مملة جدا. لا حبكة و لا حتى يوجد قصة فقط استعراض لمعلومات الكاتبة عن تاريخ القماش ( علم لا ينفع و جهل لا يضر)
Dec 30, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: those interested in stream of concious and reflective thought
hoda barakat reveals a invesitgation of where our minds would go were we to be left alone. thankfully her protaganist wasn't a politican.

this book took me some time to become invested in. its brevity hasn't been an incentive to finish it quickly but there are precious nuggets of wisdom within the book. it does the reader the favor of mentioning the breadth of destruction in beruit and insinuations of israeli militancy. this nuance is important for two reasons: the relief to read a commentary on
Mohammed Bahlool
May 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
عندما يكون القُماش هو البطل ..

علّقتني هذه الرّواية منذ عام ٢٠٠٤ عندما قرأت عنها. ووجدتها الكترونياً في مجموعة كتاب في جريدة.

حكاية القماش وحبكته وأصوله، من الدانتيل الى الحرير ، صاغتها هدى بركات بخط متوازي مع بيروت(المدينة الملعونة) وتاريخها وحروبها .
حكاية فريدة فلسفية فيها من بدء الخليقة والأكوان والغواية إلى الأديان والفلسفات والعقائد مروراً بالأعراق والأنساب والأقوام، بشكل أراه فريداً متفرّداً.

تحكي البطل ، بائع القماش الذي أحب خادمته الكرديّة، حين تاهَ في دمار بيروت حين الحرب الأهلية، ليلج
Aug 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
A very interesting book about a war in Lebanon and a person stuck in the middle of it. But the book is also about material, and weaving, and cloth and there is a beautiful; section near the end about silk. Here is a small example of the beautiful use of language – this section is about silk: “Come a little nearer, and close your eyes so that their energy will pass into your ears. What do you hear? the sound of a pent-up brook suddenly freed, or a wave crashing onto hot sand, or the escape of a b ...more
Jul 23, 2013 rated it it was ok
A surreal novel for those who are familiar with the landscape of middle east. Flowing fabrics and weavers dominate this prose. There is no plot if you are looking for one. Initially the book will enchant you with beautiful descriptions but slowly the devastated landscape of Beirut will take you deeper into the rubble of war where a man in his futile ambition to grow a garden on the ruins of his cloth shop looks for new plants. Also, it unfolds the Kurdish mythology of how 'KURDS', came into bein ...more
Dania Abutaha
Feb 25, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
لم استمتع بالكتاب.... هو يتحدث عن لبنان و وقع الحرب و الخراب فيها و كيف انها على مر العصور تدك و تعاود الوقوف حتى تصل لاعلى مراتب الازدهار و قممها ثم تدك المره تلو الاخرى كانما يستشعر نهايتها من قمم نجاحها....بطلها تائه فيها و في خرابها فيها الكثير من الفقد و التشويه و معايشه الخراب فيها الموت الكثير منه و فيها الجحيم لمن تعايش مع الحرب فبات يصحو معه و لا يخاف منه فلا تدري هل الحياه في الموت .لقد تحدثت عن تاريخ القماش بانواعه و كثير من الاسماء و الاماكن فاصبح كبحث علمى مترف مما افقدنى سيرى في مج ...more
Nihad Nour
Dec 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
رواية من الممكن أن اقول عنها انها "غريبة" ,
قرأتها ضمن منشورات كتاب في جريدة 2004,
يمضي فيها الخال موثقا الواقع بطريقة صادقة و عميقة جدادون ان تبدو كذلك,
و للقماش حكاية أخرى تغير نظرة القاريء له بعد أن ينتهي,
حيث يصبح القماش كائنا حيا حيويا و حساسا فيها.
Kawtar Morchid
Jul 07, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
يعزّ علي أن أعبّر عن حجم استيائي و خيبة أملي مما آلت إليه الرواية العربية.لم أقرأ كتابا عربيا مثيرا للإهتمام منذ زمن بعيد.لا يسعني أن أقول عن رواية هدى بركات سوى أنها رواية مملة و تافهة إلى أبعد الحدود.
Sep 18, 2016 rated it did not like it
لحد الأن أعتبرها من أسوء ما قرأت , رواية مملة جدا, لاتوجد لا حبكة و لا شيء , لا أعرف كيف أجهدت نفسي للصبر على قراءتها على امل اني سأعجب بفقرة ما أو أفهم القصة في صفحة من صفحاتها . خاب أملي و ضللت تائهة بين صفحتها بلا فائدة من دون أن أعجب ولو بعبارة واحدة
Aug 24, 2013 rated it liked it
This was one of the most descriptive books I have ever read; not always for the best but you'll need to finish it to make up your mind; personally the ending really struck a cord with me...simple yet powerful.
Un romanzo che partendo dalla storia sia passata che recente ha continui salti nel visionario o nel ricordo. Un po' offuscata l'ultima parte.
Pete Brigham
Apr 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Beautiful lyric tale of a hallucinating man living in war-torn Beirut. The protagonist lives in a dystopic urban wasteland, where he has squatted in his father's bombed out fabric store and survives by wild foraging, while avoiding the local pack of feral dogs. Along the way, he takes us on fantastic journeys into the world of fabric and textiles, as described to his beloved household maid Shamsa (who may exist only in his fevered imagination). A woven history that delights and enchants and inst ...more
Jan 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
The Tiller of Waters is a beautiful novel that is vulgarly illusive. Don't take me wrong; I have no grudge against it--you'll find the opposite at the end of this review. I use "vulgarly illusive" to denote the novel's quality for being illusive/elusive and telling us so upfront. It opens with a list of epigraphs, two of which from Jorge Luis Borges and another from a pre-modern Chinese philosopher that sounds so much like Borges.
The novel presents a narration by Niqula, a Beiruti young man who
Dec 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Okay, I loved the book. I couldn't finish it before it was due back to the library but I read most of it. I'm a slow reader and whenever I did pick it up and read even a bit, I enjoyed it. It's a disturbing war novel taking place in Beirut during the civil war. The main, and nearly only, character, after losing his house to squatters, wanders in the bombed out city until he comes to his father's fabric shop. It has been bombed and the main floor burned and all of its cheap fabrics melted. But in ...more
Saleem Khashan
قصة مختلفة، ماذا إذا أنفصلت عن العالم وعشت مختبأ عنه غضبان من أفعالهم. يختبأ شخصية القصة في وسط بيروت التجاري المدمر خلال الحرب الأهلية خائفاً من الوحوش الحقيقية في هذه الدنيا اللتي تقتل دون سبب أو لأنك تؤمن بالله بطريقة مختلفة. ويحاول تجنب الوحش اللتي تقتلة لأنها تحتاج أن تأكل، قصة مختلفة غير مملة ومع وجود شخصية واحدة إلا أنها في الحقيقة تتكلم عن شخصيات البشر عامة ووحشيتها. أحببتها.
Jan 18, 2015 rated it it was ok
Couldn't get into it. The narrator was not likeable, and the whole thing moves too slowly. I didn't care for the tone of the books the story within the story took too long to get to. I'm reading the English translation. Maybe it's better in Arabic.
Aug 14, 2015 rated it liked it
It was OK. I read it as a sample of literature for my studies on Lebanese civil war & I believe that Hoda Barakat - albeit being a great writer - does not master the male voice in her writing. It is a plotless novel, original in its take & theme exploration. Surrealism meets magical realism.
This book was very pretty, but the story was boring and jerky.
Ahmad Knio
Dec 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
كتاب مثير بمضمونه وسرده لكنه يفاجئك بنهايته التي تحتمل الكثير من التأويلات ... "من قتلني يا ابي" احببت طرقة الكاتبة بمزج المعلومات والرواية بدون ان تشعر بالملل من سرد الحقائق التاريخية او العلمية
Jul 07, 2008 rated it liked it
stone of laughter blows the tiller out of his waters
Sep 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
اعجبني الكتاب كثيرا فهو يكتب في ذلك الحنق من نظام الاشياء في بلادناوالضياع في الحياة القاسية
Taha Noman ( طه نعمان )
بدأت الكاتبة الرواية بداية طيبة لكنها بعد ذلك فقدت تركيزها ولا أدري يحاول القارئ متابعة القرأة فيضيع بين وصف أنواع الاقمشة ومتابعة الكلاب للاسف كانت رواية لاتستحق القرأة
معقولة، كقصة ضعيفة، معتمدة بالكامل على ثرثرة متماسكة لغوية ومختلقة، لو بتحب شغل العزب، الرواية دي نفس السكة وأحسن
Aug 30, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
رواية جميلة.تحكي عشق وتغلل في بيروت كما فعلت رضوى عاشور في قطعة من أورنا.ثم طريقة السرد الممتعة وقصة الأقمشة والمخمل والأكراد وقصة شمسه.بيروت التي لاتفتئ تعيش الإزدهار حتى تنتكس كالقمر.ممتعة..
طارق عليات
رواية رائعة
Mohammed Bahlool
البدايات والتاريخ والمرأة .
Read This or Die!
Sep 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A complex narrative created with high literary skills. You can watch our YouTube review here:
Basim Ammoun
rated it it was ok
May 01, 2018
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Hoda Barakat (Arabic: هدى بركات) is an acclaimed Lebanese novelist who lived much of her life in Beirut and later moved to Paris, where she now resides. Her works, written in Arabic, have been translated into many languages.
Her first work Hajar al-Dahik (The Stone of Laughter), is the first Arabic work to have a gay man as its main character. Her third novel, Harit al-miyah (The Tiller of Waters),
More about Hoda Barakat

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