ARABESQUES by Anton Shammas

ARABESQUES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

That the publisher lists this in the “Literature/Middle Eastern Studies” categories on the book jacket suggests that there’s some extraliterary dimension to Shammas’s admittedly autobiographical story. Beside the whiff of sociology, there’s novelty as well: Shammas is the first Christian Palestinian to write in Hebrew, and his family tale mingles with the lore of his displaced group. Spanning Arab life from the 1860s to the present, Shammas’s “fragmented structure of juxtaposed time zones and images” (to use Kirkus’s description in 1988) “ultimately combines into a vivid portrait of Middle Eastern life.” This “anecdotal history” travels widely and “gets the better of our narrator,” even though “family bonds prove stronger than the forces of dispersal.” A bit confused by “the largely unnecessary device of introducing a hidden narrator,” Kirkus considered Shammas’s family mystery a “vibrant and original” work.

Pub Date: April 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-520-22832-4
Page count: 264pp
Publisher: Univ. of California
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2001




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