Monday, April 02, 2007
pankaj mishra on matar and lalami in NYRB
The New York Review of Books has a perceptive essay by Pankaj Mishra on Hisham Matar's novel In the Country of Men and Laila Lalami's novel Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits.
It was a year ago that I heard the then largely unknown Matar reading from his still unpublished novel, at the Irish Centre in Hammersmith during an evening of Arab writers in London organised by Banipal. The experience was electrifying - it was clear from the first few paragraphs that here was something really special. The novel has done astonishingly well, shortlisted for the Man Booker and other awards in Britain and now riding a second wave of excellent reviews in the US. The Arabic version came out recently, published by Dar Al Muna of Stockholm. It would be interesting to know how this has been going down. A stand-alone section of Lalami's novel was shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Writing last summer. Lalami (pictured above) is also well known for her insightful blog Moorish Girl.