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Mezzaterra: Fragments from the Common Ground

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Mezzaterra: Fragments from the Common Ground Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

From the bestselling author of the Booker Prize finalist The Map of Love-an incisive collection of essays on Arab identity, art, and politics that seeks to locate the mezzaterra, or common ground, in an increasingly globalized world.

The twenty-five years worth of criticism and commentary collected here have earned Ahdaf Soueif a place among our most prominent Arab intellectuals. Clear-eyed and passionate, and syndicated throughout the world, they are the direct result of Soueifs own circumstances of being “like hundreds of thousands of others: people with an Arab or a Muslim background doing daily double-takes when faced with their reflection in a western mirror.” Whether an account of visiting Palestine and entering the Noble Sanctuary for the first time, an interpretation of women who choose to wear the veil, or her post—September 11 reflections, Soueifs intelligent, fearless, deeply informed essays embody the modern search for identity and community.

Review:

"When Booker Prize finalist Soueif (The Map of Love) moved from Egypt to London in 1984 to live with her husband, she became one of thousands of 'people with an Arab or a Muslim background living in the West and doing daily double-takes when faced with their reflection in a Western mirror.' Her sense of the disconnection between Arab life as she knew it and its portrayal in Western media only deepened after the Persian Gulf War began, the second intifada erupted and America invaded Iraq. For the past four years she has found 'the situation so grave [that she has] written hardly anything that does not have direct bearing on it.' The 38 pieces collected here — some are works of reporting; most are essayistic book reviews — establish Soueif as the intellectual heir to Edward Said, the Palestinian scholar who was a personal friend of hers until his death in 2003. Like Said, Soueif insists that 'the discord between the Arab world and the US is entirely to do with Israel.' She speaks longingly of the 1960s, when, she says, political tensions were low enough that Arabs and Westerners could meet on common ground and 'differences were interesting rather than threatening, because they were foregrounded against a backdrop of affinities.' Though she sometimes appeals to emotion over hard facts, her prose reads smoothly and her observations on the misery inflicted by recent conflicts are thoughtful indeed." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

About the Author

Ahdaf Soueif was born in Cairo. She is the author of Aisha, Sandpiper, In the Eye of the Sun, and the bestselling novel The Map of Love, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1999. She also has translated from the Arabic the award-winning memoir I Saw Ramallah by Mourid Barghouti.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781400096633
Author:
Soueif, Ahdaf
Publisher:
Anchor Books
Subject:
Middle East
Subject:
Essays
Subject:
Arabs
Subject:
Social conditions
Subject:
Middle Eastern
Subject:
Arab countries
Subject:
Middle East Politics and government 1979-
Subject:
Arab countries Politics and government.
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20051031
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
7.98x5.30x.77 in. .54 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Anthologies » Essays
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
History and Social Science » Ethnic Studies » General

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Product details 352 pages Anchor Books - English 9781400096633 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "When Booker Prize finalist Soueif (The Map of Love) moved from Egypt to London in 1984 to live with her husband, she became one of thousands of 'people with an Arab or a Muslim background living in the West and doing daily double-takes when faced with their reflection in a Western mirror.' Her sense of the disconnection between Arab life as she knew it and its portrayal in Western media only deepened after the Persian Gulf War began, the second intifada erupted and America invaded Iraq. For the past four years she has found 'the situation so grave [that she has] written hardly anything that does not have direct bearing on it.' The 38 pieces collected here — some are works of reporting; most are essayistic book reviews — establish Soueif as the intellectual heir to Edward Said, the Palestinian scholar who was a personal friend of hers until his death in 2003. Like Said, Soueif insists that 'the discord between the Arab world and the US is entirely to do with Israel.' She speaks longingly of the 1960s, when, she says, political tensions were low enough that Arabs and Westerners could meet on common ground and 'differences were interesting rather than threatening, because they were foregrounded against a backdrop of affinities.' Though she sometimes appeals to emotion over hard facts, her prose reads smoothly and her observations on the misery inflicted by recent conflicts are thoughtful indeed." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
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