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Divorce Islamic Style
     

Divorce Islamic Style

4.0 2
by Amara Lakhous
 

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From the author of Clash of Civilizations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio

The Italian secret service has recieved intel that a group of Muslim immigrants based in Rome's Viale Marconi neighborhood is planning a terrorist attack. Christian Mazzari, a young Sicilian court translator who speaks perfect Arabic, goes undercover to infiltrate the

Overview

From the author of Clash of Civilizations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio

The Italian secret service has recieved intel that a group of Muslim immigrants based in Rome's Viale Marconi neighborhood is planning a terrorist attack. Christian Mazzari, a young Sicilian court translator who speaks perfect Arabic, goes undercover to infiltrate the group and learn who its leaders are. Christian poses as Issa, a recently arrived Tunisian in search of a place to sleep and a job. He soon meets Sofia, a young Egyptian immigrant whose life with her husband, Said a.k.a Felice, an architect who has reinvented himself as a pizza cook, is anything but fulfilling.

In alternating voices, with an anthropologist's keen eye and with sparkling wit Lakhous examines the commonplaces and stereotypes typical of life in multicultural societies. Divorce Islamic Style mixes the rational and the absurd as it describes the conflicts and the contradictions of today's world. Marvelous set pieces, episodes rich in pathos, brilliant dialogue, and mordant folk proverbs combine as the novel moves towards an unforgettable and surprising finale that will have readers turning back to the first page of Lakhous's stunning novel to begin the ride all over again.

Editorial Reviews

Alessandra Stanley
…a delightful way to set the record straight, a whimsical and at times heartbreaking look at the Muslim immigrants who work in pizza kitchens and live in communal apartments near Viale Marconi, a crowded, commercial part of Rome that tourists rarely see. It's hard to find the lighter side of Islamic terrorism or the subjugation of women, but as the title suggests, Divorce Islamic Style does it by scaling those themes down to the size of two ordinary people, Issa and Sofia, who cross paths in ways that can verge on the farcical. They tell their tales in alternating first-person narratives, so the story unfolds like a duet—one in which the singers are in different sound booths and don't know when and where their voices overlap.
—The New York Times Book Review
Publishers Weekly
Lakhous (Clash of Civilizations over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio) deftly satirizes political, cultural, and religious corruption in this clever comedy of errors. Sicilian narrator Christian Mazzari, code name Issa “the Tunisian,” is an excitable “Arabist” student recruited by SISMI, Italian military intelligence in 2005, to infiltrate the Arab Muslim community in Rome and learn about “Operation Little Cairo” (Little Cairo being an “international calling center”). Issa shares narration duties with feisty Egyptian housewife Sophia, a call center patron chronicling her marriage to and multiple divorces from Said, who is called Felice (happy), the Islamic fundamentalist whom she derisively calls “the architect” (he has a degree in architecture but works in a restaurant). Secretly working as a hairdresser to save money for her sister Zeineb’s reconstructive surgery after a botched female circumcision, Sophia walks a minefield between cultures: Islamic, Arab, Egyptian, Italian, and, eventually—as she comes into contact with the handsome Issa—that of “Tunisian” intelligence. Though a quick conclusion leaves a thread or two still untied, the novel still exposes what role personal corruption has played all along in Little Cairo’s political, cultural, and religious intrigue. Issa, who cleaves to aphorisms, knows that “he wolf with a bad conscience thinks the worst of everyone,” and it’s a worthwhile satire that reveals how that wolf is made. (May)
The New Yorker
"The author's real subject is the heave and crush of modern, polyglot Rome, and he renders the jabs of everyday speech with such precision that the novel feels exclaimed rather than written."
Brooklyn Rail
"A satirical, enigmatic take on the racial tensions that afflict present-day Europe."
NPR's Fresh Air
"What's memorable about Lakhous' novel is what he shows us of an often inward-looking nation confronting the teeming vibrancy of multicultural life."
Philadelphia Inquirer
"Do we have an Italian Camus on our hands? Just possibly . . . No recent Italian novel so elegantly and directly confronts the 'new Italy.'"
From the Publisher
Praise for Divorce Islamic Style

"The author's real subject is the heave and crush of modern, polyglot Rome, and he renders the jabs of everyday speech with such precision that the novel feels exclaimed rather than written."
—The New Yorker

"A satirical, enigmatic take on the racial tensions that afflict present-day Europe."
—Brooklyn Rail

"What's memorable about Lakhous' novel is what he shows us of an often inward-looking nation confronting the teeming vibrancy of multicultural life."
—NPR's Fresh Air

"Do we have an Italian Camus on our hands? Just possibly...No recent Italian novel so elegantly and directly confronts the 'new Italy.'"
—Philadelphia Inquirer

Praise for Amara Lakhous

"French and British literatures have long been enriched by the biculturalism of authors like Tahar Ben Jelloun, Amin Maalouf, Gaitam Malkani, and Monica Ali. With talented new writers like Lakhous, Italy is closing the gap."
—The New York Times

"As a novelist of culture clash, Lakhous has the faculty to maintain colorful voices with the luxury of introducing political themes as instantiations of character."
—Bookforum
 

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781609458942
Publisher:
Europa
Publication date:
03/27/2012
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
184
Sales rank:
1,080,506
File size:
644 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Amara Lakhous was born in Algiers in 1970. He has a degree in philosophy from the University of Algiers and another in cultural anthropology from the University la Sapienza, Rome. Clash of Civilizations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio (Europa Editions, 2008) was awarded Italy's prestigious Flaiano prize and was described by the Seattle Times as a "wonderfully offbeat novel." Lakhous lives in Italy.

Ann Goldstein is an editor and head of the copy department at The New Yorker. Her translations for Europa Editions include novels by Elena Ferrante, Alessandro Piperno, Romano Bilenchi, and Giancarlo de Cataldo.

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Divorce Islamic Style 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
NSI More than 1 year ago
Excellent. Well worth the read.
lawladi More than 1 year ago
Had this not been a book club selection I would have never read it. Problems with the original translation to English may have contributed to the dreadful, crashing bore this story turned out to be.