Category: Libya

Najwa Bin Shatwan: الطليانوج حياة خاصة (Catalogue of a Private Life)

The latest addition to my website is Najwa Bin Shatwan‘s (Catalogue of a Private Life). This is a collection of eight stories from Libya. Some are serious, but most are satirical, absurd and/or surrealistic, telling of the grim situation in Libya and the repression of the people, particularly the women. We have a cow that is a giant missile, a village which can travel round the world, a fuel queue from Tripoli to Tunis, and a general with a lot of weapons but no army but also girls who are never allowed to leave their home and a woman who is told she should be forbidden from entering all seven levels of heaven because she was not wearing a hijab. Bin Shatwan tells her stories very well and they are well worth reading.

Ibrahim Al-Koni: أنوبيس (Anubis)


The latest addition to my website is Ibrahim Al-Koni‘s أنوبيس (Anubis). This is the first Libyan novel on my website but it is not your typical Libyan novel, as al-Koni is a Tuareg and this is very much a Tuareg novel. It tells the story of Anubi, a legendary Tuareg character, who catches a glimpse of his father at birth but, since then, has not seen him and sets out into the desert to find him. Al-Koni adds other myths, particularly the myth of Targa (which gives its name to Tuareg), the legendary oasis, where Anubi arrives and is joined by others, for whom he becomes, eventually, both priest and leader. But he is beset by jinns, spirits and the ghost (or shadow) of his father. It is not easy reading, as the characters speak in aphorisms and riddles and it is not always clear what is going but it is, nevertheless, an interesting look at another culture and its myths.

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