Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Matt Rees's top 10 novels set in the Arab world

Matt Beynon Rees has lived in Jerusalem since 1996. He covered the Middle East for over a decade for the Scotsman, then Newsweek, and from 2000 until 2006 as Time magazine's Jerusalem bureau chief. He published his first novel featuring Palestinian detective Omar Yussef, The Collaborator of Bethlehem, in 2007, which won the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger award. A Grave in Gaza and The Samaritan's Secret followed in 2008 and 2009.

The Fourth Assassin, out in February, follows Omar to visit his son in New York's "Little Palestine" in Brooklyn.

For the Guardian, Rees named his top ten novels set in the Arab world. One book on his list:
Wolf Dreams by Yasmina Khadra

A young Algerian on the make becomes disillusioned with westernised morality and joins a violent Islamist group. In turn he sees through the corruption and bloodthirstiness of the group's actions. A tormenting portrayal of the suffocating lack of options available to poor Arabs. Khadra (the pen-name of a former Algerian military officer) lives in exile in France.
Read about another novel on Rees's list.

Visit Matt Beynon Rees' website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue