"To the impartial eye, the world not only seems an unlikely one-off phenomenon, but a constant strain on reason. If reason exists, that is, if a neutral reason exists. So speaks the voice from within. So speaks Joker's voice." - Jostein Gaarder

Friday, June 17, 2005

Recommendation - Ports of Call

well, I'm going through this low couple of days... when u really got nothing to say.... so I thought I'd just post my all-time favorites.. in anything... in this Recommendation section...

Novel: Ports of Call (Les Echelles du Levant).
Novelist: Amin Maalouf.
Rated: 14368400635999/10.
Note: I read both the [Dar Al-Farabi] Edition and [Dar Wared] Edition.. and the first is soooo much better... get the first... the translator is Nahla Baydoun... I totally loved the translation!!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Les Echelles du Levant is a very good read indeed, it got me all excited at the end to know what went between him and his long lost lover. but I have to say it can make you depressed a little to see how things can get screwed up in our troubled middle east. however I loved the ethnic,and religous mixture in the characters. my favorite Amin Maalouf book is Leon L'Africain, I can't say enough about it's just...majestic :)

June 17, 2005 3:21 PM

Blogger Yazan said...

exactly... Turks and Armenians, Arabs and Jews... this is a wonderful micture that he's got... and the main point when his daughter aknowledges ALL the components she's made of, She's a Jew but yet a muslem too... she's israeli, lebanese, turkish and French... it's soo amazing that he wants this point stressed in every one of his works.. this Identity Problem...

Well.. I've read all his books... except for the last one.. "Bedayat".. didn't find it yet...! and This is still my favorite alongside with "Samarquand"...

June 17, 2005 5:09 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh yeah I forgot about "samarcande" too...this one is as great as Leon L'Africain. I was a complete ignorant about omar al khayiam and Hasan Alsabah and that whole period of time.however I think that maalouf lost his touch a little in "Le Périple de Baldassare", did u get the chance to read it?I have to say that I didn't enjoy reading it as much. but I liked him mentioning my city Alep in it as he did in "Les Identités meurtrières" ;-)
on my "to read" list now is "Les Jardins de lumière" I just got my english copy of that one. do u recommend it?

June 17, 2005 5:23 PM

Blogger Yazan said...

I definitly agree on "Balthasar's Odyssey".. I felt it was a bit long.. and felt bored at some chapters but.. u know... his style... even if u feel a bit bored.. u just know that U HAVE to finish it..

I'd definitly recommend "Gardens of Light"... it's a great insight on "Manicheanism"... though not as good as Samarkand and Leo the African... but it has a lot of emotional pages... I loved that..
I can't be fully neutral when talking about A.Maalouf.. cuz I kinda LOVE all his books... from the first moment I read "The Rock of Tanios" I fell in love with this novelist... and "On Identity" came to "finish the job"! hehe..

hey... check his website www.aminmaalouf.org
it's quite nice...

June 17, 2005 7:13 PM

Blogger Abu Rummaneh said...

هذه واحدة من رواياتي المفضلة. كل كتابات أمين معلوف رائعة في الحقيقة. تعجبني الطريقة التي يتنقل فيها معلوف بالقارئ بين أزمنة مختلفة وبقاع متنوعة وأحداث مثيرة في كل صفحة، لا سيما في "رحلة بالداسار" و"ليون الأفريقي". هل تعرف ما اسم الترجمة العربية لـ

Gardens of light

June 17, 2005 7:26 PM

Blogger Yazan said...

Gardens of Light
حدائق النور...

أعتقد أن ثقافته التاريخية ظاهرة في كل نقطة من رواياته... ولكن ابداعه يظهر في كيفية توظيف كل هذه الشخصيات والأحداث الحقيقية في خدمة الرواية نفسها والفكرة التي يريد ايصالها لنا...!!!
لا أستطيع أن أتابع أي خبر على التلفزيون أو في أي مكان.. دون أن أتذكر كتاباته عن الهوية... أعتقد أن موانئ المشرق والهويات القاتلة من أهم وبالتأكيد الأكثر انفتاحاً وانسانية في تعريف هذا المفهوم...

June 17, 2005 9:07 PM

Blogger Catherine said...

I read that book recently..did'nt like it,and he used the Palestine -Israel problem, in a way too simplified "romantisized" way..
He took clearly sides when it came to wrong nazis, and the "right" side french, oppressed jews etc..
But when it came to Palestine he wrote about it as it was all about a fight between religions or minorities or (taefia)!! Just people fighting with not a word about deportation and taking lands and homes..For people reading this in the west, and rest of the world, they will think this is what happened..He could at least keep out of Palestine if he only wanted something simpler than the more heavey, and complicated Palestine.
Except that I agree that it's a beautiful idea to accept all different parts..(nothing wrong with beeing a jew for example..we judge people by what they do..not the detailes of how they pray, or what language they speak..etc.)

June 18, 2005 6:40 AM

Blogger Yazan said...

I don't think he did that... he didn't take sides when it came to Palestine-Israel conflict true.. but if u'd read "On Identity" u'll understand why..

This is a lively conflict now... u can't take sides.. U SHOULDN't take sides [I don wanna start another controversy here, that's worse than the last]...
I think he's not discussing the conflict itself.. rather than a solution after 60years of bloodshed... and he's clearly in favor of a one-state solution... one secular state for both arabs and jews.. come to think about it.. NOW, it's the only humane, civil, modern solution... but radicals on both sides aren't gonna let that happen [I'm not taking sides here, I have a very clear stand on this Palestinian issue, and I don't wanna be misunderstood], we all know the historical facts... The western world IS where the jews came, they know about deportion and they didn't care then, why would they care now?!
after 60 years of conflict we've been tought that israelis are not humans [same thing happening on the Israeli side], that it's okay to bomb israeli civilians [and that it's okay to destroy palestinian house, tress, lives]... well... IT IS NOT OKAY..!! that's his point... Human lives are much more important and sacred than any belief or belonging or idetity!! [Again, I've read history, I know what happened!!.. but for once I'm not gonna look back... I'm gonna try to look forward]

I STRONGLY recommend "On Identity" to understand most of his writings...

June 18, 2005 1:56 PM

Blogger Yaryoor said...

oh i love amin maloof's books... i'm currently reading balthasar's odessy... I read leo africanus, I love the history and the people his discriptions and all that..

June 19, 2005 5:24 AM


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