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For fans of Alice Munro and Lorrie Moore. A young girl, renamed Amerika in honour of the US role in the liberation of Kuwait, finds her name has become a barometer of her country's growing hostility towards the West. A middle-aged man dying from cancer looks back on his extramarital affairs and the abiding forgiveness of his wife. The headlines tell of war, unrest and religious clashes. But if you look beyond them you will see life in the Middle East as it is really lived - adolescent love, the fragility of marriage, pain of the most quotidian kind. Mai Al-Nakib's luminous stories unveil the lives of ordinary people - and the power of objects to hold extraordinary memories.
Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing
Number of Pages
With her compassion for an old, vanished world and her exceptional eye for the bruised landscape of the modern Middle East, Al--Nakib should be heralded as an exciting new literary voice. The National The old world and the new. The strife in the Gulf, once peaceful and reflective. East and West, Arabic and English, the poetry of the heart, the eye of the hawk; all these elements produce the lustrous pearls of Mai Al-Nakib's short stories. -- Hanan al-Shaykh, author of Beirut Blues Al-Nakib writes with penetrating insight and such compressed lyricism that at times her prose seems to border on poetry. It's a densely imagined and beautifully written debut. The Sydney Morning Herald Through a richly nuanced and generous lens, Al-Nakib's gracefully intertwined stories celebrate the living desire that connects us to home-wherever in the world that might be-as well as to the past and to each other...A powerful voice already in full mastery of her powers. The most original first collection of short fiction I have read in years. -- A. Manette Ansay, author of Vinegar Hill Mai Al-Nakib's The Hidden Light of Objects brings forth both the light and the shadows of the contemporary Middle East in clean-edged prose that startles us, not with sudden violence or polemic, but with the ineluctable force of human desire. Kuwait itself becomes a character, full of contradictions, in this multifaceted set of stories and vignettes. Superb. -- Lucy Ferriss, author of The Lost Daughter and A Sister to Honor In this, her first collection of stories, Kuwaiti author Mai Al-Nakib excavates meaning from the overlooked and the unremarked. In 10 tales, interspersed by linking 'vignettes,' she shows how, in the midst of mayhem and strife, people get on with their lives. War, disaster, and religious conflict are all present here but the author keeps the focus on the individual and, as in life, private joy and grief loom larger than news items... The Hidden Light of Objects marks the emergence of an author already confident in her craft and her ability to give voice to the emotions and yearnings of her characters. New Internationalist These moments examined, small and beautiful and finely drawn, evoke a world of loss, of longing, and remembrance. Mai Al-Nakib's debut collection, The Hidden Light of Objects, reveals the life before and after, old and new, innocent and wise, becoming. Beautiful. -- M. Evelina Galang, author of Angel de la Luna and the Fifth Glorious Mystery