Arabesques

Arabesques Available again Arabesques is a classic complex novel of identity memory and history in the Middle East and points beyond including Iowa and New York City Anton Shammas the first Arab to write a

  • Title: Arabesques
  • Author: Anton Shammas Vivian Eden
  • ISBN: 9780520228320
  • Page: 125
  • Format: Paperback
  • Available again, Arabesques is a classic, complex novel of identity, memory, and history in the Middle East and points beyond including Iowa and New York City Anton Shammas, the first Arab to write a novel in Hebrew, has given us a riveting look at a people we hear too little about Palestinian Christians Arabesques was chosen as one of the best books of 1988 by the editAvailable again, Arabesques is a classic, complex novel of identity, memory, and history in the Middle East and points beyond including Iowa and New York City Anton Shammas, the first Arab to write a novel in Hebrew, has given us a riveting look at a people we hear too little about Palestinian Christians Arabesques was chosen as one of the best books of 1988 by the editors of the New York Times Book Review.

    564 Comment

    • Jim Fonseca says:

      An unusual book by an unusual author. When published in 1988, it was reviewed on the front page of The New York Times Book Review and that publication later chose it as one of the seven best works of fiction for that year. The blurbs tell us that the book is the first publication written in Hebrew by an Arab (Palestinian) author. The author, now a professor at the University of Michigan, was educated at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and later participated in the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.The [...]

    • Randa says:

      The premise is a riff on My Antonia, by Willa Cather. This book explores identity so well, I've read it and re-read and I always get something new out of it.

    • Jameel Brenneman says:

      Upon reading the first few chapters of Anton Shammas’ Arabesques, it would be easy to assume the novel was simply his memoir, beginning with his growing up in a northern Palestinian village and presumably progressing into the adulthood from which he is narrating. In truth, it is much different than that. After setting a nostalgic tone with recollections of advice from his uncle, childhood pranks, and prepubescent love that lasts less than a day, Shammas inserts a crack of uncertainty that clou [...]

    • Ilya says:

      This is the first ever Hebrew-language novel by an Arab author. It is a chronicle of an Arab Christian family living in the Galilee, in a village built on the ruins of a Crusader castle, which in turn was built on the ruins of an ancient Jewish village, from the 1930s into the 1980s. A character is angry at the world's indignation at the Sabra and Shatilla massacre, in which Christians murdered Muslims; he says that when Muslims murdered Christians, the world didn't care. A girl can see the futu [...]

    • Ryan says:

      Excellent. Timely re-read as the current administration is reconsidering relocating the US Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. Anton Shammas weaves a tale from two sides that bind themselves together in Arabesques. The story is mostly concerned with giving Hebrew and, by extension, Western readers exposure to the family story of a Palestinian. Shammas describes his family as Arab Christians, a common ground for the target audience, and frequently writes in allusions to the sacred Word (which I b [...]

    • Carly says:

      It has taken me awhile to mull over what exactly I wanted to write about Arabesques in a review. It is a book that has completely changed my outlook on literature, and I recommend it to all. But I also realize that if I hadn’t read it along with my class, I probably wouldn’t have been able to finish it, due to confusion.The novel feeds off of the confusion. Just when you believe one thing to be true, the novel reveals that there are no truths and there is no point trying to search for the tr [...]

    • Flo says:

      This beautiful written memoir is a novelized version of the writer, Anton Shammas's early life, whose Christian-Arab family lived in the British Mandate of Palestine. Written originally in Hebrew it is translated wonderfully into English. He tells of his family living in a small village in the northern part of the country, his father, a barber turned cobbler,his mother, a teacher born in Lebanon, his uncles and aunts, cousins and neighbors jumping back and forth from 1936 to the 1960s, weaving s [...]

    • Poupeh says:

      A book dealing with family, memory, stories, fact and truth, and the writing life I am sure i have not understood all the narrative plays at work here need to go more into itOn a side note, the book was suggested to me by a professor, in my first semester, first class ever in the US, only after one conversation about literature and writing and one's choices, and now more than two years later that i have finally read the book, i am amazed at how brilliant his suggestion was. I am so lucky to have [...]

    • Devin Curtis says:

      Beautifully lyrical, shadowy and lucid this novel touches upon the greatest dichotomies of our time: identity, religion, language, nationality, and reality.A wonderfully complicated text, Arabesques has the rare gift to entice your mind to constantly spin off in every direction with connections and questions that creates the power of this novel. The prose is so immaculately constructed, and the techniques employed are so deftly used that at the novels most complicated the reader is left with a s [...]

    • Lauren says:

      Finished Arabesques which was really wonderful though I couldn't decide whether or not to take careful notes, make a chronology and a few family trees.Finished Arabesques which was really wonderful though I couldn't decide whether or not to take careful notes, make a chronology and a few family trees or to give myself over to the highly circular and poetic narrative that doubled back and repeated itself with much twinning of characters and plot. I did a little of both Fantastic book and an excel [...]

    • Lucy Carr says:

      This is a fantastic and complex novel. Definitely modernist in its style, this book takes you on multiple, intersecting journeys (arabesques, if you will) in Israeli Palestine, France, America, and the imagination of the author and its characters. Arabesques is especially interesting when read in tandem with the original Hebrew text. In short, I highly recommend reading this novel.

    • Mirka Breen says:

      The language is vivid and the flavor of the original (I read it in Hebrew first, and unique brand from the Arab-Israeli author) is like no other book. The translation misses the linguistic flavor, but none of the beauty of village life and the quirky characters and events Shammas so poetically describes.

    • Phil says:

      Fascinating combination of myth, memoir, and politics. Shammas (an Israeli Arab Christian) goes into grand detail and manages to keep all the threads of identity and dopplegangers together. This book does a great job of showing the nuances present in the land once known as Palestine and is worth reading if you are curious about that part of the world.

    • Rose says:

      Read this book for an English class. I was a beautifully complicated book - that being said I'm glad I had a teacher helping to guide my reading otherwise I would have missed a lot! It's not a quick read but if you have the time and energy it's an intriguing read.

    • Manar Makhoul says:

      In the 'Top 10' novels I've ever read!

    • Kate says:

      Confusing, but after finishing, it's alright. I'd recommend reading every other chapter and then going back to read the unread

    • Bobbi says:

      An incredibly intricate story told beautifully with expert precision.

    • Allie says:

      A little confusing with the multiple characters, but it's beautifully written and lyrical in its descriptions of locations around the world.

    • Ron says:

      Read my review at my blog.

    • Renan Peixoto says:

      "Ses histoires s'imbriquaient les unes dans les autres, s'épousaient, se séparaient, revenaient se fondre dans l'arabesque infinie de la mémoire." p. 267.

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