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Abu Jmeel's Daughter & Other Stories

Arab Folk Tales from Palestine and Lebanon

Published by Interlink Books
Distributed by Simon & Schuster

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About The Book

These 27 traditional folk stories were written down, shortly before her death, by Jamal Sleem Nuweihed, who had recounted them to the children of her extended family over many years. Authentically Arab in their themes, yet timelessly universal, they are sometimes magical, sometimes naturalistic, and combine a wealth of vivid detail with elements of pathos and humor. Translated by family members of various generations, then expertly edited, the book is a precious store of the kind of tale endlessly cherished but in danger of disappearing.

About The Author

Jamal Sleem Nuweihed (1907–91) was born in Lebanon to a Lebanese doctor and a Turkish mother. She lived many decades in Palestine where she raised a family and spent all her free time quietly at home, either reading or writing her poetry and fiction. The author of three published novels and many poems, she was one of the most versatile creative people, enjoying writing a story as much as telling it. The folk tales are only a small part of the rich repertoire of tales she kept alive in her memory until her last days. Salma Khadra Jayyusi, the author’s niece and translator of some of the stories, is a poet, critic, literary historian, and anthologist. She is the founder and director of PROTA, the Project for the Translation of Arabic Literature. Christopher Tingley was born in Brighton, England, and educated at the universities of London and Leeds. He has translated or co-translated many novels, poems, and short stories from the Arabic, among them Yusuf al-Qaid’s novel War in the Land of Egypt and the poetry for the two-volume Trends and Movements in Modern Arabic Poetry.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Interlink Books (January 1, 2001)
  • Length: 368 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781566564182
  • Ages: 8 - 15

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Raves and Reviews

"Women are the center of these 27 lively traditional tales that have been told and retold in Lebanese, Palestinian, and Turkish families for generations...translated here for a contemporary audience...bright, accessible...the informal style has the immediacy and timelessness of family storytelling...There are motifs from The Thousand and One Nights...and also from the Brothers Grimm...for family, school and adult audiences. A rich resource for teens and teachers."

"Exquisite collection...While the female protagonists are intelligent and capable, their worlds are circumscribed; they know little of the universe outside their garden walls. The male protagonists travel far and wide, their only boundaries imposed by bad luck....Magical birds, beautiful genies, clever sons and beautiful daughters populate these pages. Readers of all ages will enjoy the delightful and timeless narratives."-Foreword Magazine

"These tales had been passed down as oral tradition by generations of women and finally were written down by Nuweihed, when she was eighty-three, at the request of her niece, Salma Jayyusi...The stories she memorized and frequently retold are not only entertaining but also show how a classic oral tradition becomes a medium for passing on to children moral lessons and ethical values. In addition, these stories are interesting in that almost all of them portray women who are active decision makers in various life situations that they confront."

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More books in this series: International Folk Tales Series