Interpretations is a club where we dive into fresh English translations of stand-out fiction from around the world.
This month the club will be discussing Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi, translated by Marilyn Booth!
** We will be gathering virtually on Zoom at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86921485470?pwd=K203aGVrOTdDNW1aRkhyYWZkYXJvdz09
If you'd like to join and haven't used Zoom-- sign up for a free account and download Zoom prior to the meeting. It's pretty easy to get set up, but here's a linked video describing the process. **
In the village of al-Awafi in Oman, we encounter three sisters: Mayya, who marries after a heartbreak; Asma, who marries from a sense of duty; and Khawla, who chooses to refuse all offers and await a reunion with the man she loves, who has emigrated to Canada. These three women and their families, their losses and loves, unspool ... against a backdrop of a rapidly changing Oman, a country evolving from a traditional, slave-owning society into its complex present
"An inventive multigenerational tale spanning from the end of the 19th century to the early years of the new millennium, this is the first novel by an Omani woman to be translated into English. It's also the first Arab novel to win the International Booker Prize." --The New York Times Book Review, Editors' Choice
Jokha Alharthi is the first Omani woman to have a novel translated into English, and Celestial Bodies is the first book translated from the Arabic to win the Man Booker International Prize. Alharthi is the author of two previous collections of short fiction, a children's book, and three novels in Arabic. Fluent in English, she completed a PhD in classical Arabic poetry in Edinburgh and teaches at Sultan Qaboos University in Muscat. She has been short-listed for the Sheikh Zayed Award for Young Authors and her short stories have been published in English, German, Italian, Korean, and Serbian.
Marilyn Booth holds the Khalid bin Abdullah Al Saud Chair for the Study of the Contemporary Arab World, Oriental Institute and Magdalen College, Oxford University. In addition to her academic publications, she has translated many works of fiction from the Arabic, most recently The Penguin's Song and No Road to Paradise, both by Lebanese novelist Hassan Daoud.
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