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As Though She Were Sleeping
     

As Though She Were Sleeping

by Elias Khoury
 

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Milia's response to her new husband Mansour and to the Arab World of 1947 is to close her eyes and drift into parallel worlds. Identities shift. Present, past, and future mingle and merge: she finds herself able to converse with the dead and foresee the future. As the novel progresses in glimpses, Milia's dreams become more navigable than the strange and

Overview

Milia's response to her new husband Mansour and to the Arab World of 1947 is to close her eyes and drift into parallel worlds. Identities shift. Present, past, and future mingle and merge: she finds herself able to converse with the dead and foresee the future. As the novel progresses in glimpses, Milia's dreams become more navigable than the strange and obstinate "reality" in which she finds herself, and the two realms grow ever more entangled. This wondrous tapestry of love, faith, history, poetry, and vision cuts to the very heart of the deep-rooted conflicts of the region and breaks new literary ground.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
An enchanting hymn to the Middle East, infused with the richness and beauty of classical Arabic poetry. —The Guardian

Elias Khoury's latest novel returns to a golden age. Beirut in the 30s, unoccupied Palestine and a love affair recalled through a set of dream sequences: an Arab spring of a very different sort. —Tariq Ali, The Independent

Enthralling . . . Mesmerizing. —The Economist

Praise for NY Times Notable Book Gate of The Sun:

An imposingly rich and realistic novel, a genuine masterwork. —The New York Times Book Review

Humanity and compassion give this rich and teeming narrative its shape, creating a work that in its essence is a heartfelt plea for sanity and peace. —The Christian Science Monitor

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781935744023
Publisher:
Steerforth Press
Publication date:
03/23/2012
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
300
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 7.60(h) x 1.50(d)

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Read an Excerpt

Milia’s eyelashes drew apart over eyes still curtained in drowsiness. She would just close them again, she decided; she would pick up the trail of her dream. She saw a small white candle giving off a wan light that trembled and flickered through the fog. His fist closed tightly around the candle, Mansour walked ahead directly in front of the taxi, the wind buf- feting his long overcoat, but she could not make out her husband’s features clearly. She reached for the glass of water that she kept habitually on the bedside table but found no glass there. She was thirsty. The dryness diffused along her tongue and broke against the roof of her mouth and down her throat. She dragged her left arm out from beneath her head on the pillow to arrest the numbness creeping from her upper arm toward her neck. She turned over in bed, and over again, and then lay finally still on her back. She put out her hand for the glass of water and found no table there. She shud- dered, jerked upright, and suddenly found herself sitting against a wooden headboard. Where had it gone, that familiar white wall against which she propped her head? She could always sense the peeling white paint crack- ing and splintering beneath her long hair, even commingling with it as she rested her head on the wall. She pressed her arms to her chest, just touching the warm skin of her breasts. Suddenly she was afraid and the coldness of

Meet the Author

Elias Khoury, born in Beirut, is the author of thirteen novels, four volumes of literary criticism, and three plays. He was awarded the Palestine Prize for Gate of the Sun, which was named Best Book of the Year by Le Monde Diplomatique, The Christian Science Monitor, and The San Fransisco Chronicle, and a Notable Book by The New York Times. Khoury's Yalo, White Masks, Little Mountain, The Journey of Little Gandhi, and City Gates are also available in English. Khoury is a Global Distinguished Professor of Middle Eastern and Arabic Studies at New York University. As Though She Were Sleeping received France's inaugural Arabic novel Prize.

Marilyn Booth holds the Iraq Chair in Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Edinburgh. Her publications include Harem Histories: Envisioning Places and Living Spaces and May Her Likes Be Multiplied: Biography and Gender Politics in Egypt. She has translated over a dozen works of Arabic fiction, including novels by Hoda Barakat, Hamdi Abu Golayyel, Alia Mamdouh, Somaya Ramadan, and Latifa al-Zayyat. Booth received the AATA Translation Prize in ‘81, the University of Arkansas Arabic Literature Translation Prize in ‘94, and was runner-up for the 2007 Saif al-Ghobashi Banipal International Arabic Translation Award.

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