Granada

Overview

"The novel follows the family of Abu Jaafar the bookbinder - his wife, widowed daughter-in-law, her two children, and his two apprentices - as they witness Christopher Columbus and his entourage in a triumphant parade featuring exotic plants, animals, and human captives from the New World. Embedded in the narrative is the preparation for the marriage of Saad, one of the apprentices, and Saleema, Abu Jaafar's granddaughter - which is elegantly revealed in a number of parallel scenes." "As the new rulers of Granada confiscate books and officials
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Overview

"The novel follows the family of Abu Jaafar the bookbinder - his wife, widowed daughter-in-law, her two children, and his two apprentices - as they witness Christopher Columbus and his entourage in a triumphant parade featuring exotic plants, animals, and human captives from the New World. Embedded in the narrative is the preparation for the marriage of Saad, one of the apprentices, and Saleema, Abu Jaafar's granddaughter - which is elegantly revealed in a number of parallel scenes." "As the new rulers of Granada confiscate books and officials burn the collected volumes, Abu Jaafur quietly moves his rich library out of town. Persecuted Muslims fight to form an independent government, but increasing economic and cultural pressures on the Arabs of Spain and Christian rulers culminate in forcing Christian conversions and Muslim uprisings." A tale that is both vigorous and heartbreaking, this novel will appeal to general readers of Spanish and Arabic literature as well as anyone interested in Christian-Muslim relations.
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Editorial Reviews

Booklist
Prior to the fifteenth century, Granada, Spain, was a Muslim community. When the Castilians conquered the area, they brought with them the Inquisition. Muslim culture and literature were banned, and inhabitants were forced to convert. This epic follows the fortunes of the Muslim family of Abu Jaafar, a well-respected leader and book printer. His two apprentices and the children of his deceased biological son make up the heart of the novel. . . . A page-turner. The language is rich and evocative, and the characters are engaging.
Library Journal
From its opening with a mysterious omen-a naked woman comes down from the hills-to its cyclical conclusion, Egyptian novelist Ashour's novel (her first translated into English, though two short stories have appeared) bears the weight of Muslim history-and particularly the history of Moorish Spain. Under cover of darkness, protagonist Abu Jaafar moves his extensive and culturally significant library out of Granada as Christian missionaries invade his quarter "like a swarm of locust." Through this incident and many others, Ashour recounts the dismantling of Muslim rule in southern Spain just before and during the infamous Spanish Inquisition. Toward the end, an aunt tells her niece a story of creation that merges with the one in the book: those who are condemned nevertheless live on through the culture of storytelling. Thus, the narrative is one of triumph through memory and story; the salvation of a single Muslim's library comes to symbolize the salvation of a banished nation. This is a haunting tale about culture, history, and, above all, human emotion that manages to condense the oppression of a people into the experiences of one man. Recommended for all fiction collections.-Lyle D. Rosdahl, San Antonio P.L., TX Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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