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Library Loot

June 29, 2011

The Storyteller’s Tale – Omair Ahmad

While Afghan warlord Ahmed Shah Abdali plunders 18th century Delhi, a wandering storyteller fleeing the carnage happens across an isolated casbah a day’s ride from the city. When the beautiful and lonely lady of the manor invites him to stay and share a story, his grief at the destruction of his glorious city spills forth in a story of two brothers, Taka and Wara – wolf and boy – a tale of love and loyalty, hurt and distrust. The storyteller is amazed when the lady, or Begum, responds with a tale of her own, of Aresh and Barab, and a friendship that transcends death. Transfixed by their storytelling duel and shocked by the discovery of forbidden love, the pair draw out their stories in order to delay the moment of their parting.

Part fable, part fantasy, The Storyteller’s Tale captures the twilight of the Mughals and transports the reader to the stunning setting of an unforgettable brief encounter. Adapting ancient traditions of storytelling, skilfully weaving history and the lives of ordinary people in a landscape of war and devastation, Ahmad’s finely drawn tale draws from the great folklore traditions of One Thousand and One Nights and the Tales of Genji.


Two Women in One – Nawal El-Saadawi

Bahiah Shaheen, an 18-year-old medical student and daughter of a prominent Egyptian public official, finds the male students in her class coarse and alien. Her father, too, seems to belong to a race apart. Frustrated by her hard-working, well-behaved, middle-class public persona, her meeting with a stranger at a gallery one day proves to be the beginning of her road to self-discovery and the start of her realization that fulfilment in life is indeed possible. Two Women in One is the story of countless women in the Third World, and speaks of their quest for emancipation and dignity.


Oil on Water – Helon Habila

From the desks of Nigeria’s newsrooms, two journalists are recruited to find the kidnapped wife of a British oil engineer. Zaq, an infamous media hack, knows what’s in store, but Rufus, a keen young journalist eager to get himself noticed, has no idea what he’s let himself in for.

Journeying into the oil-rich regions of the Niger Delta, where militants rule and the currency dealt in is the lives of hostages, Rufus soon finds himself acting as intermediary between editor, husband, captive and soldier. As he follows the trail of the missing woman, the love for the ‘story’ becomes about much more than just uncovering her whereabouts, and instead becomes a mission to seek out and expose the truth. In a cruel twist of fate, Rufus finds himself taking on Zaq’s role much more literally than he ever anticipated, and in the midst of a seemingly endless, harrowing war, he learns that truth can often be a bitter pill to swallow . . .


The Lost Sailors – Jean-Claude Izzo

In this moving investigation into the human comedy, the men aboard an impounded freighter in the port of Marseilles are divided: Wait for the money owed them, or accept their fate and abandon ship? Captain Abdul Aziz is determined to save his charge and do the right thing by his men. In these close quarters charged with physical and emotional tension, each life begins to resemble a chapter in the complex, colorful, and tragic story of the Mediterranean Sea itself-rich with romance, legend, passion, and drama.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 29, 2011 2:52 pm

    They all look good. Enjoy your loot!

  2. June 29, 2011 7:14 pm

    These all look great but I’m particularly intrigued by Two Women in One. Enjoy your loot!

  3. June 30, 2011 1:44 am

    Some great finds listed here – the first two are especially appealing!

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