With its satirical and semi-journalistic style, Chewing Gum is an existential quest to understand how a society exists beneath a repressive dictatorship. The rhythmic act of chewing relentlessly continues as individuals, time and land turn to waste. In this debut novel, no one escapes the critical gaze of a writer who witnessed first-hand the brutality of Gaddafi’s regime. At times downright funny and at times poignantly sad, Chewing Gum depicts the academics, politicians and businessmen of Libya who all claim a monopoly on the truth of the country but who all, inevitably, fail the individual.
Set in the early 1930s, Maps of the Soul takes us on a journey into a different Libya, a country emerging from resistance wars and presided over by the charismatic Italian colonialist Italo Balbo who dreams of a new Rome on The Fourth Shore, the crowning glory of the fascist dream. Against this backdrop, the story unfolds, one of painful survival in the face of defeated dreams. This volume contains the first three parts of Fagih’s monumental twelve part work, ending as Othman finally leaves Tripoli behind, a city at the mercy of wrangling and war.
Connecting today’s migrants with legendary adventurers of the past, Eritrean author Abu Bakar Khaal places the phenomenon of migration in a broad perspective. The “bug” which grips the hearts and minds of young Africans is just one of many phases which Africa has traversed in its long history from man’s first cradle. With moments of comedy interspersing the harsh reality of migration, African Titanics provides an intimate take on a phenomenon so often in the news. This title is a fascinating new contribution to Arabic literature, and one of only a few fictional works by an Eritrean author to be translated into English.
By acclaimed Sudanese author Amir Tag Elsir, Ebola ‘76 follows the story of Louis, a simple blue-collar worker who unwittingly transports a deadly disease back to his home country, with disastrous consequences for his family, friends and colleagues alike. In a series of bizarre and comical human encounters, the disease takes a firm hold of the city of Anzara. Blind guitar players, comely barbers, tyrannical factory owners and spurned wives all soon find themselves desperately fighting for their lives in the “Time of Ebola”.
The Confines of the Shadow is a sequence of novels and short stories that map the transformation of the Libyan city of Benghazi from a sleepy Ottoman backwater in the 1910s to the second capital of an oil-rich kingdom in the 1960s. Employing a cosmopolitan array of characters, ranging from Ottoman functionaries, to Sanussi aristocrats and Italian officers, Spina chronicles Italy’s colonial experience from the euphoria of conquest – giving us a front row seat to the rise and subsequent fall of Fascism in the aftermath of World War II – to the country’s independence in the 1950s. Spina continues his narrative with the discovery of Libya’s vast oil and gas reserves, which triggered the tumultuous changes that led to Muammar Gaddafi’s forty-two year dictatorship.