Category: Bahrain

Ghazi Algosaibi: شقة الحرية (An Apartment Called Freedom)

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The latest addition to my website is Ghazi Algosaibi‘s شقة الحرية (An Apartment Called Freedom). This novel takes place between 1956 and 1961, primarily in Cairo and follows a group of young men, primarily Bahraini, who have gone to Cairo to study. As well as their studies, they pursue other activities. Girls are their main interest but all of them, one way or another, get involved in politics of varying kinds. Nasser is in power and Fuad, our hero and presumably based on the author, is a keen supporter and eventually gets to meet him. Fuad and one other pursue a writing career with some success. They are young men at university with all that entails but also Arab nationalists and Muslims in a period when there is great upheaval in the Arab world, not least because of the Suez Crisis. It is certainly a fascinating book, not least because Westerners will be able to identify with them in some respects but not in others.

Sarah A. Al Shafei: Yummah

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The latest addition to my website is Sarah A. Al Shafei‘s Yummah, the first Bahraini novel on the site. It is more of a memoir, a tribute to her grandmother who had nine children, a husband who deserted her when she was pregnant with the ninth and various other tragedies in her life, yet managed to pull through, keep a good heart, a positive spirit and her religious faith, and survive to have numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. As well as showing the life of her grandmother, al Shafei also shows how Bahrain has changed over the years. Though somewhat hagiographical, it is still a very readable novel.

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