Middle East/North African Lit discussion

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2020- 2022 challenge > 11. Nominations for books from Sudan and the Horn of Africa

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message 1: by Niledaughter (new)

Niledaughter | 2781 comments Mod
Please share your recommendations in here.


message 2: by Niledaughter (new)

Niledaughter | 2781 comments Mod
I would like to read The Kindness of Enemies, I could not reach a copy before but I think I can now.

We had a discussion for the book before in 2016 but there was not a lot of participation then
https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...


message 3: by Jalilah (new)

Jalilah | 774 comments Niledaughter wrote: "I would like to read The Kindness of Enemies, I could not reach a copy before but I think I can now.

We had a discussion for the book before in 2016 but there was not a lot of part..."


I absolutely loved this novel! I'm not sure if I want to read it again so soon, but if there is a group read for it I would definitely participate.


message 4: by Jalilah (new)

Jalilah | 774 comments I read Tale of a Boon's Wife by Fartumo Kusow for this category last year. I can highly recommend it!


message 5: by Niledaughter (new)

Niledaughter | 2781 comments Mod
Jalilah wrote: "Niledaughter wrote: "I absolutely loved this novel! I'm not sure if I want to read it again so soon, but if there is a group read for it I would definitely participate..."

Great to know that :)

Jalilah wrote: "I read Tale of a Boon's Wife by Fartumo Kusow for this category last year. I can highly recommend it!"

It seems a nice one !


message 6: by Niledaughter (new)

Niledaughter | 2781 comments Mod
I thought of sharing this list
https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/3...


message 7: by Nan (new)

Nan Carter | 159 comments Niledaughter, thanks for sharing this list. More books to add to the TBR list.


message 8: by Tamara (new)

Tamara Agha-Jaffar | 331 comments Jalilah wrote: "I read Tale of a Boon's Wife by Fartumo Kusow for this category last year. I can highly recommend it!"

I got a notification from Goodreads yesterday. Fartumo Kusow liked my review of her book! I got a kick out of that :)


message 9: by Nan (new)

Nan Carter | 159 comments Jungo, The Stakes Of The Earth: A Novel, Abdel Aziz-Baraka Sakin.
I have this book in my TBR stack. It seems both he and his books are banned in the Sudan even though many people like his work.


message 10: by Niledaughter (new)

Niledaughter | 2781 comments Mod
Nan , it was the first time for me to hear about Abdel Aziz Baraka, thanks for introducing him, I will check his books.


message 11: by Richard (new)

Richard | 19 comments I read Thirteen Months of Sunrise by Rania Mamoun because I love translations by Elizabeth Jaquette. I hadn't heard of Rania Mamoun so was excited to read a new voice.
I had to say I was surprised by how short a collection it is but the stories are so intense that it works really well as a brief punchy collection. The translation is as effective and fluid as readers of Jaquette would expect and the stories themselves are creative without losing power.
I particularly loved In The Muck of the Soul -- a meditation on the condition of a rough sleeping woman told in the form of a series of film shots -- and Cities and Other Cities, a story focusing in on a bus journey and a fly.
A very powerful collection of writing that leaves the reader with lots to dwell upon.


message 12: by Bianca (new)

Bianca | 15 comments Our book club read Hamour Ziada's The Longing of the Dervish early in 2019. We basically picked it because we had never read anything by Sudanese authors: we were awestruck by it.
The structure is somewhat complicated, but a great narrative and an interesting description of Sudanese history. One of the few times everyone liked the book we read, so highly recommanded.


message 13: by Niledaughter (last edited Aug 30, 2020 08:06AM) (new)

Niledaughter | 2781 comments Mod
Bianca wrote: "Our book club read Hamour Ziada's The Longing of the Dervish early in 2019. We basically picked it because we had never read anything by Sudanese authors: we were awestruck by it.
The structure is..."


The Longing of the Dervish was a very special read for me, The Mahdist War is an interesting historical period. I was so happy that its English translation is out, and I wish we can read it at some point in the group.


message 14: by Jalilah (new)

Jalilah | 774 comments I ended up reading Bird Summonsby Leila Aboulela for this category and am so happy I did!
I really enjoyed it! Here is my review https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 15: by Orgeluse (new)

Orgeluse | 42 comments Jalilah wrote: "I ended up reading Bird Summonsby Leila Aboulela for this category and am so happy I did!
I really enjoyed it! Here is my review https://www.goodreads.com/review/sho..."


I also found Bird Summons quite a different read from what Leila Aboulela ususally writes but I also remember liking it a lot and your review made me put the book on my TBR to re-read next year :))


message 16: by Niledaughter (new)

Niledaughter | 2781 comments Mod
Thanks for sharing Jalilah!. So far, I only read one novel for Leila Aboulela , it was Lyrics Alley and I liked it, I started reading The Kindness of Enemies but I had to return the book before finishing. I am planning to read for her again:)


message 17: by Tamara (new)

Tamara Agha-Jaffar | 331 comments Jalilah wrote: "I ended up reading Bird Summonsby Leila Aboulela for this category and am so happy I did!
I really enjoyed it! Here is my review https://www.goodreads.com/review/sho..."


Nice review, Jalilah.
I've bumped up Bird Summons on my TBR. I've got a couple of books to finish up from the library first. And this will be next after I'm done. I've read 4 of her books and enjoyed them all. I look forward to this one. Thanks.


message 18: by Nicole (new)

Nicole B (nicolebergen) | 16 comments I'm considering Les enfants du khat by Mouna-Hodan Ahmed because I was looking for a woman writer from Djibouti and there don't seem to be many. It doesn't seem to be translated into English so I might attempt to muddle through it in French.


message 19: by Orgeluse (new)

Orgeluse | 42 comments Nicole wrote: "I'm considering Les enfants du khat by Mouna-Hodan Ahmed because I was looking for a woman writer from Djibouti and there don't seem to be many. It doesn't seem to..."

Thanks a lot for pointing out this interesting title. From Djibouti I have only read The Land Without Shadows which was not my cup of tea as it lacked plot. I have In the United States of Africa on my TBR for 2021.

For all those here in this group who are also into poetry:
This year I read some very good poetry collections by poets from Somalia (A Warning to the House That Holds Me by Amina Jama, Warsan Shire's Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth and The January Children by Safia Elhillo from Sudan The latter is my absolute favourite but the former two also are highly recommendable "even" for those who are not normally into poetry!!


message 20: by Julia (new)

Julia Boechat | 5 comments From Sudan, I've Read Season of Migration to the North and it was an amazing read. From Ethiopia, there was a Maaza Mengiste Book, The Shadow King, on the long list for the Booker this year.
I also have Passage Des Larmes, from Djibouti, The Consequences of Love, from Eritrea, and The Orchard of Lost Souls, from Somalia, on my to-read list, and would love to start any of them soon.


message 21: by Marcia, Arabic Literature (in English) (new)

Marcia Lynx | 155 comments Mod
From Sudan there are so many brilliant novelists: of course Season is such a wonderful read & re-read; there's also a new translation out of Tayeb Salih's "Mansi," which I think is fun and illuminating. My fave South Sudanese novelist is Stella Gaitano if you read Arabic her Souls of Eddo was one of my faves of 2019 and it's coming in 2022 in Sawad Hussain's translation. Sawad is also translating "Black Foam" by Eritrean novelist Haji Jaber.

Also recommend the Book of Khartoum anthology because you can get to know a number of different Sudanese writers.


message 22: by Niledaughter (new)

Niledaughter | 2781 comments Mod
Thanks for the recommendations!
I am a little busy but hopefully I will be able to finish updating the group bookshelves soon :)


message 23: by Jalilah (new)

Jalilah | 774 comments I love this group!
Thanks for all the recs Marcia!


message 24: by Jalilah (new)

Jalilah | 774 comments Niledaughter wrote: "The Longing of the Dervish was a very special read for me, The Mahdist War is an interesting historical period. I was so happy that its English translation is out, and I wish we can read it at some point in the group..."

Bianca wrote: "Our book club read Hamour Ziada's The Longing of the Dervish early in 2019. We basically picked it because we had never read anything by Sudanese authors: we were awestruck by it.
The structure is..."


I managed to get a hold of The Longing of the Dervish and have started reading it. I am finding it somewhat confusing. I think this is at least particularly because I know little about Sudanese history. Also be cause the author jumps around in time. What both of you have to say is making me want to keep reading. At one point I almost gave up!


message 25: by Inji (new)

Inji | 38 comments Such great recommendations!


message 26: by Niledaughter (new)

Niledaughter | 2781 comments Mod
Hello Jalilah
I cannot remember all the details now. But I was also confused at the beginning, and that it took me a while to link the characters the Dervish was killing and the one after him.
Sure, reading brief introduction to Mahdi's war would help.


message 27: by Jalilah (last edited Apr 10, 2021 11:19AM) (new)

Jalilah | 774 comments Niledaughter wrote: "Hello Jalilah
I cannot remember all the details now. But I was also confused at the beginning, and that it took me a while to link the characters the Dervish was killing and the one after him.
Sure..."


I couldn't figure out if what was happening was before the protagonist was in prison and afterwards. There was also a lot of killing. I am sure that someone more familiar with this period of Sudanese history than I would appreciate it, but I just wasn't enjoying it.
I am going to read Lyrics Alley instead. I have loved everything I have read from Leila Aboulela and for some reason thought I'd read all her books, but haven't read this one.


message 28: by Niledaughter (new)

Niledaughter | 2781 comments Mod
It okay Jalilah, I understand. I read "Lyrics Alley" and I liked it. I want to read Leila Abdoulela again, not sure I will read "The kindness of Enemies" or "Bird Summons" , I guess it depends on my mood if it is towards history or fantasy:)


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