Category: Oman

Sonallah Ibrahim: االلجن وردة (Warda)

The latest addition to my website is Sonallah Ibrahim‘s االلجن وردة (Warda). This tells the story of Rushdy, a left-wing Egyptian, who has spent time in prison for his political activities. When younger he had met and fallen for Shahla. She and her brother went off to Oman to fight in the Dhofar Rebellion, and Shahla, taking the name Warda (meaning Rose), leads a guerilla troop. Rushdy, visiting, some thirty years later, a cousin who is living in Oman, is determined to track down Warda who seems to have disappeared. He gradually gets hold of her diaries and we follow her troop and her views on the left-wing political events of the day, with Warda and her comrades convinced that the triumphant march forward will bring liberation for the Arab peoples. Meanwhile Rushdy is finding contemporary(i.e. 1992) politics are more complicated than he realised as he travels round Oman looking for Warda. Lost love meets politics in a fine novel.

Abdulaziz Al-Farsi: تبكي الأرض– يضحك زحل (Earth Weeps, Saturn Laughs)


The latest addition to my website is Abdulaziz Al-Farsi‘s تبكي الأرض– يضحك زحل (Earth Weeps, Saturn Laughs), the first Omani novel on my website. It is a gently mocking satire of a village in Oman where the majority of people seem to be conspiring against others, have guilty secrets which are only gradually revealed (to us, at least) and where few are happy with their lot. The main character is Khalid who had escaped for the village to city but returns after an unhappy love affair. His only friend is the imaginary poet from Saturn, though he has the protection of his influential grandfather. He is only peripherally involved in the various conspiracies and plots in the village, including who should be the muezzin, who the imam, who the leader and where the meeting house should be, all of which result in plots and counter-plots, with the village split on all of the issue and resulting in mayhem and murder, perhaps as the result of a curse on the village. He mocks their hypocrisy, their religious quibbling and their petty-mindedness. It is all great fun and Al-Farsi tells his tale very well.

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