A Year in Reading: Lorraine Adams

December 22, 2010 | 2 books mentioned


coverA Mansion in the Sky by Goli Taraghi: Taraghi is one of Iran’s most acclaimed literary practitioners with a wide audience. In the United States and Europe, however, she is virtually unknown. This slim selection of short stories is magnetic, drawing you into Iranian lives in the most intimate and distilled way. You won’t find a hint of politics or religion or disputation about the veil. Taraghi’s work is clean and moving, anchored in the exceptional instances when the concrete world slip-slides into indisputable truths.

coverSeason of Migration to the North by Tayeb Salih: Sudanese novelist Salih, acclaimed by African and Arab writers, died last year without an American publisher of this novel, his masterpiece. Three months later New York Review Books, champion of overlooked texts, finally published this edition. The novel’s central figure, Mustafa Sa’eed, is one of literature’s greatest contradictory creations, a hyper-sexualized flag bearer of intellection, an economist once celebrated in Europe who, as the novel opens, is reduced to farming oranges and watermelons in a small Sudanese village. Why he has come to this pass, and, who he really might
be–combine into a transfixing story.

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’s second novel is The Room and the Chair (Knopf, 2010). Her first novel Harbor won The Los Angeles Times First Fiction prize. Her upcoming novel set in Pakistan was honored with a 2010 Guggenheim grant. She regularly reviews foreign fiction from the Muslim world for the New York Times Book Review and wrote about terrorism this summer for Granta.

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