Hoda Barakat's 2004 Arabic novel tells the story of Wadie, a young man who leaves school and becomes corrupted by crime, and his wife, Samia, who flees with him to Cyprus to escape from gang leaders and militiamen he has riled during his criminal career. Set against the backdrop of the Lebanese civil war, the story is narrated by Wadie until he suddenly disappears from Cyprus; Samia then takes over the narration. Discrepancies between their stories raise questions about what exactly has happened, and Wadie's disappearance is never explained. Laila Familiar abridged the text with the author's approval so that it can be read by students with low-advanced proficiency in the Arabic language. Familiar provides introductory materials, a short biography of the author, a personal dictionary, and exercises that develop linguistic and cultural competency. Audio files of Barakat reading five passages from the work will be posted for free access on the GUP web site; these, along with a recorded interview, will help students improve listening skills. The book is meant to be used as a supplementary text and can be covered in ten class sessions.
About the Author
Laila Familiar is a lecturer in Arabic at the University of Texas at Austin. She has taught language and content-based courses in several renowned programs of Arabic, and was director of the Arabic Summer Institute at the University of Texas at Austin, 2012-13. She has a Master's degree in Teaching Arabic as a Foreign Language from the American University in Cairo.Hoda Barakat is a contemporary Lebanese-born novelist writing in the Arabic language. She worked as a teacher, translator, and journalist during the Lebanese Civil War, and it is during this war that her later novels are set. Her works have won several awards, including the Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature.