The best 100 Arabic books?

Here is one list and here are the top five:

1 The Cairo Trilogy by Egyptian (Nobel-prize winning) author Naguib Mahfouz. Yes, of course it’s available in English: Trans. William Maynard Hutchins, Everyman’s Library, 2001.

2 In Search of Walid Masoud by the Palestinian author Jabra Ibrahim Jabra. This is available in English, translated by by Adnan Haydar & Roger Allen. Syracuse University Press, 2000. Also, Ghassan Nasr’s translation of Ibrahim Jabra’s The Journals of Sarab Affan, published by Syracuse University Press, was a runner-up for the Banipal translation prize in 2008.

3 Honor, by the great Egyptian writer Sonallah Ibrahim. As far as I can turn up, this has never been translated into English. Ibrahim’s Zaat, The Committee, and Stealth are easily available from AUC Press, AUC Press, and Aflame Books. The Smell of It was translated, too, but it’s long since out of print.

4 War in the Egyptian Homeland, by the Egyptian Yousef Al-Qaeed has not been translated. (Oops! Hilary notes that War in the Land of Egypt by Yusuf al-Qa’id–see where a non-standard transliteration will get me–was published by Interlink in 1997, translated by Olive and Lorne Kenny and Christopher Tingley. Yes, and my title translation was lame. Worse, I’ve read that translation….)

5 Men in the Sun, by the Palestinian author Ghassan Kanafani, was translated by Hilary Kilpatrick and published by Lynne Rienner Publishers in 1998.

Hat tip goes to Literary Saloon.


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