Shumaisi

Translator: Paul Starkey Publisher: Saqi Books Place of Publication: Saudi Arabia Date of Publication: 2005 Language: Arabic ISBN: 0-86356-911-0 Number of Copies: 2 Author: Hamad, Turki

The year is 1970, a period of identity crisis in the Arab world. Hisham, the young hero of Adama, is now a university student in the big city, Riyadh. He expands his intellect by day and pursues heady, forbidden pleasures by night, indulging in arak, cigarettes and an illicit affair with his neighbour Sarah, a bold young housewife. Meanwhile, Hisham’s disillusioned childhood friend Adnan abandons his artistic ambitions in favour of a loftier cause, Islamism. The two friends grow apart, ultimately becoming strangers to each other. They come to symbolise the opposite extremes of life in a repressive closed society. Eventually, Hisham’s world becomes untenable as he can no longer reconcile his studious days and licentious nights. This contradictions plunges him into intense turmoil and self-loathing, until his past catches up with him, with surprising consequences …