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John Lanchester, 5 January 1989

by Anton Shammas, translated by Vivian Eden.
Viking, 263 pp., £11.95, November 1988, 0 670 81619 1
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by Beat Sterchi, translated by Michael Hofmann.
Faber, 353 pp., £11.95, September 1988, 0 571 14934 0
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A Casual Brutality 
by Neil Bissoondath.
Bloomsbury, 378 pp., £12.95, September 1988, 0 7475 0252 8
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... contributory factor behind the sensation the book was causing was the fact that its author, Anton Shammas, was an Arab writing in Hebrew, his ‘stepmother tongue’. Shammas describes himself as an ‘Israeli Arab’ – an ambiguous, problematic identity which is the subject of his novel. The early pages of ...

Where are the playboys?

Robert Irwin: The politics of Arab fiction, 18 August 2005

Modern Arabic Fiction: An Anthology 
edited by Salma Khadra Jayyusi.
Columbia, 1056 pp., £40, June 2005, 0 231 13254 9
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... Kanafani’s tautly constructed narrative of Palestinians on the run in All That’s Left to You. Anton Shammas is a Palestinian writer who does not feature in Jayyusi’s anthology since he writes in Hebrew, but in his best-known novel, Arabesques (1986), he conjured up the lost paradise that was Palestine before the triumph of the Zionists and its ...

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