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Oh, Salaam!

Published by Interlink Books
Distributed by Simon & Schuster



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About The Book

ACCLAIMED NOVEL WITH COMPELLING TREATMENT OF GENDER ROLES, AND THE EFFECTS OF CIVIL WAR Najwa Barakat’s Oh, Salaam! (Yaa Salaam!, Arabic, 1999) tells the story of three friends whose lives are transformed by their participation in the inhuman civil war of some unnamed Arab country—and by their relationship with the novel's anti-heroine, Salaam. Two of the friends live to see the arrival of peace, but they struggle to make a life for themselves in a society that has no need for former militiamen. Meanwhile, the death of the third, Salaam’s fiancé, remains a mystery until the closing pages of the novel. Some scenes recall No Exit as the three main characters use and torment each other. In others, their cruelty and coarse behavior is reminiscent of the antisocial counterculture of Clockwork Orange. Initially repulsed, the reader is drawn to discover whether any of the characters will succeed in finding love, making it rich, or getting out of the country alive. The fast-reading plot is shocking throughout, yet it generates a compelling fascination to observe the ultimate consequences of violence and sexual exploitation. The depictions of civil war, torture, oppressive gender roles, and sexual exploitation are challenging to read, but unfortunately they remain very relevant. Oh, Salaam! has been translated into Italian and French. Both the original and the translations alike have received the praise of critics for the novel's compelling treatment of antisocial characters, gender roles, and the effects of civil war.

About The Author

Najwa Barakat is a prominent and active voice in the Arab literary world, addressing difficult themes with dark humor and gritty realism. Born in Beirut, she has written five novels in Arabic and one in French. In addition to her work as a novelist and journalist, Barakat has translated Camus's Notebooks into Arabic and founded Mohtaraf, a program to train young Arab writers. Luke Leafgren received his PhD in comparative literature from Harvard University and holds BA degrees from Columbia and Oxford. He currently teaches Arabic at Harvard and serves as the dean of Mather House, one of the undergraduate dormitories. He translated Muhsin Al-Ramli's Dates on My Fingers (AUC Press, 2014).

Product Details

  • Publisher: Interlink Books (March 6, 2015)
  • Length: 288 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781566569927

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Raves and Reviews

"Without any taboos or limits, [Barakat] depicts here the return to life after war with a remarkable freedom of tone and evocative power" The strangest thing is that upon finishing the book, one has the feeling of being caught in the net of a work that is suffocating but enthralling, which fascinates with the resplendence of its images and the clarity of its vision.", Le Monde Diplomatique

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