Author Archive

Ugliness in Sonallah Ibrahim’s That Smell and Notes from Prison

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Despite the trouble and humiliation Ibrahim endured as a political prisoner and later as a writer in attempting to publish his work, the timeless value of his lessons is undeniable: the impositions of decency and social and literary norms often serve only to exacerbate the problems they claim to

“Unassimilation” and Nabarun Bhattacharya’s Harbart

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Writing within the form of the novel yet against its western traditions, Bhattacharya’s presence in the international English literary sphere beckons the reader to look closer into the chaos.

How the United States Nurtures Violence

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While the characters of Laila Lalami’s newest novel confront and sometimes overcome the discomfort caused by their differences, Lalami presents one final troubling question for her readers: what markers of violence have our willingly blind eyes allowed to fester?

The Refusal of Boundaries in Etel Adnan’s Surge and Time

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Adnan’s rejection of boundaries of time, geography, and standard logic echoes the very nature of two of her works: one written in English, one translated from French, one intentionally written as a collection, one pulled together from many years of disparate writing.

Language of the Diaspora

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Although none of the characters in Isabella Hammad’s new novel are diasporic themselves, her intricate use of Arabic instills the mixed language of diaspora with a fresh purpose.

The Threshold of Memory and Return

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Confronting the manifestations of trauma in individual people and larger communities, the nonlinear form of Iman Humaydan’s 2012 novel exposes the importance of living with complexity despite its accompanying discomfort in the context of the Lebanese Civil War and beyond.

Intimacy and Resistance Through Food

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Leila S. Chudori’s 2012 novel uses food as a mechanism to create and sustain intimacy during political exile and as a method of resistance against the imposed narrative of the dictatorship.

The Multiple Consciousnesses of Exile

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Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi’s humor and literary power bring a fresh, clear, and unapologetic voice to the experience of living as an other in the global North while simultaneously shedding light on exile’s true absurdity: that society remains apathetic toward the exiled.

Women’s Voice in Assia Djebar’s Fantasia

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Djebar’s compelling 1985 novel is not only a crucial historical contribution from the Algerian perspective, but one that comes from an intersectional lens, giving voice to the often silenced and overlooked participation of women in struggles for independence and making space for these histories in the current global conversation.

The Criminal State in Austin Reed’s The Life and the Adventures of a Haunted Convict

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Austin Reed’s 1858 book evades generic stability, blending memoir with picaresque, bildungsroman, jeremiad, and others to reveal the injustice of the justice system and the perpetuation of a criminal cycle as enforced by a racist state.