Monday, March 13, 2017

Nine of the best books by Arab writers

Louisa Ermelino is the Reviews Director at Publishers Weekly. Her most recent book is Malafemmena, a collection of stories, many of them set in the Middle East and Asia. One of her nine favorite books by Arab writers:
City of Jackals by Parker Bilal

This fifth installment in the Makana mystery series should send you back to the first four. I first read Bilal, the pseudonym of Jamal Mahjoub, who was born in London and raised in Khartoum, Sudan, because his books are set in Cairo. I’m not much of a mystery fan, but I'm a big fan of Cairo and Bilal takes full advantage of the city setting to enhance the story. This mystery takes place in 2005, after the election of Mubarak and protests by South Sudanese refugees. The Sudanese detective Makana is sympathetic, honest in the midst of corruption, sad (he has a tragic past) and living on an old houseboat on the Nile. Entertaining and exciting but also revealing, the series spins yarns while exposing the reality that Egypt is not all tombs and Pharaohs.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue