Sunday, September 07, 2008

The Hakawati by Rabih Alameddine

The Hakawati by Rabih Alameddine is a Scheherazade of a story layering stories within stories within stories in a complex pattern that blends fantasy and reality together in one brilliant package. Osama, now an engineer in Los Angeles, travels home to Lebanon to be with his father during his final days. During his visit with his family, he remembers stories of his grandfather, a hakawati, or storyteller. Weaving in and out of his family story are the fantastical stories of Fatima, a slave girl and Baybars, a slave prince which pull together the threads of past and present reflect the modern day Beirut.

This is one of the best novels I have read this year.

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