Middle East/North African Lit discussion

Code Name: Butterfly
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2018 > Book Discussion of 'Code Name: Butterfly'

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message 1: by Marcia, Arabic Literature (in English) (new)

Marcia Lynx | 158 comments Mod
Ahlam Bsharat’s Code Name: Butterfly (in English translation by Nancy Roberts) was the Librarians and Archivists with Palestine’s 2018 “One Book, Many Communities” selection. That means book groups around the world have been discussing it.

https://librarianswithpalestine.org/c...

"Code Name: Butterfly" was shortlisted for Etisalat Prize for Arabic Children’s Literature in its original version and, in Roberts’ translation, for the Middle East Monitor Palestine Books Awards:

https://arablit.org/2017/06/14/9-book...

As the book goes on, Butterfly generates many questions that are entry points for discussion, the core ones -- I think -- centering around justice.

Read a review:

https://www.thenational.ae/arts-cultu...

It's also worth discussing the translation, I think; its successes or failures in English; and, of course, whatever you think about it.


message 2: by Cam (new) - rated it 4 stars

Cam | 22 comments Thanks for leading this Marcia and for the links. I won't be able to start this until early August but I'm looking forward to reading it!


message 3: by Marcia, Arabic Literature (in English) (new)

Marcia Lynx | 158 comments Mod
I look forward to re-reading & to seeing it afresh through all your comments.

I am particularly keen on the translation of Arabic YA right now (recently turned in a translation to U of Texas Press and just finished a draft translation of a YA novel by Sonia Nimr) & love to hear everyone's thoughts about what "YA" means, what crosses over, how it's possible (or not) for translations to bend the category a bit, etc.!

Cam wrote: "Thanks for leading this Marcia and for the links. I won't be able to start this until early August but I'm looking forward to reading it!"


message 4: by Bianca (last edited Jul 18, 2018 11:36AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bianca | 15 comments Just finished Code name: Butterfly. Had my doubts about reading a kids's book being an adult. In the end I found the book so well written that this was no objection at all.
Over the next couple of weeks I will be re-reading bits and pieces of the book that involve the treasure chest. Butterfly keeps questions in there that she poses to herself but doesn't dare ask to anyone else. The reason for this is the ever-existing risk of being found out. In telling secrets to your friends or siblings there's always the danger of treason and after a while an alter ego of a kind develops: "Butterfly, tell me: when will you and I be united in a single body so that we can go scatter dreams in the air and plant questions on hilltops....?"


message 5: by Marcia, Arabic Literature (in English) (new)

Marcia Lynx | 158 comments Mod
I wish more people felt that way. I am eternally having this argument with university instructors who say, "Our students are adults, they can't read YA." In my opinion, well-written children's literature is for everyone.

Look forward to hearing more of your thoughts!

Bianca wrote: "Just finished Code name: Butterfly. Had my doubts about reading a kids's book being an adult. In the end I found the book so well written that this was no objection at all.
Over the next couple of..."



message 6: by Jalilah (last edited Jul 21, 2018 12:29PM) (new)

Jalilah | 813 comments It's a big misconception that Young Adult books are only for young adults and that they are not good literature! I don't let this deter me. I've read many great YA books. One was The Servant by Fatima Sharafeddine.
Also recently I've read a number of books that were categorized as YA written by Canadian First Nations authors.

Unfortunately my library does not have Code Name Butterfly, so I probably won't be reading it soon.


message 7: by Marcia, Arabic Literature (in English) (new)

Marcia Lynx | 158 comments Mod
So sorry to hear about your library!

I translated another work by Fatima that will be coming out from University of Texas Press; if you are interested I'll find a way to get you a copy. :-)

Lila wrote: "It's a big misconception that Young Adult books are only for young adults and that they are not good literature! I don't let this deter me. I've read many great YA books. One was [book:The Servant|..."


message 8: by Jalilah (new)

Jalilah | 813 comments Marcia wrote: "So sorry to hear about your library!

I translated another work by Fatima that will be coming out from University of Texas Press; if you are interested I'll find a way to get you a copy. :-)

Lila..."


I could probably get Code Name as an inter- library loan, but it might take a while.
I will be reading The Green Bicycle with everyone.

Wow Marcia, thanks! I'd happily buy a copy of the book you translated!

Speaking of YA books I just saw this
https://www.arabamerica.com/not-the-g...
Not the Girls You're Looking For by Aminah Mae Safi

It looks like a fun read!


message 9: by Marcia, Arabic Literature (in English) (new)

Marcia Lynx | 158 comments Mod
FYI:

This month's RISC bookclub choice is: Codename Butterfly by the Palestinian author Ahlam Bsharat translated from the Arabic by Nancy Roberts. 7:30pm The book is available from the World Bookshop. 35-39 London St. RG1 4PS. @NeemTreePress @ahlambsharaa

https://twitter.com/RISC_Reading/stat...


Bianca | 15 comments Marcia wrote: "I wish more people felt that way. I am eternally having this argument with university instructors who say, "Our students are adults, they can't read YA." In my opinion, well-written children's lite..."

As a young girl, I could spend days on end reading books. As an adult I kind of lost that habit, and funnily enough it was children's books that got me back into it. It was the Harry Potter books that reminded me of what it felt like to be sucked into a good story. Loved that feeling!


message 11: by Marcia, Arabic Literature (in English) (new)

Marcia Lynx | 158 comments Mod
Yes!!! Sometimes as adults we forget that it was the joy of the words singing beneath us that brought us into this.

Bianca wrote: "Marcia wrote: "I wish more people felt that way. I am eternally having this argument with university instructors who say, "Our students are adults, they can't read YA." In my opinion, well-written ..."


message 12: by Robert (last edited Nov 20, 2018 11:18PM) (new) - added it

Robert Sharples | 5 comments Hi everyone,
I have recently finished reading Code Name Butterfly with the original and the English translation side by side partly as a way to understand the Arabic text. I really enjoyed it especially the way she comes to celebrate her grandparents' resilience.
Can anybody recommend any similar Arabic YA books in translation which I could read Arabic and English versions side-by-side?
Thanks


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