Days of Ignorance
by Aljohani, Laila
A Romeo and Juliet for our times – in the shadow of the Iraq War
Medina, Saudi Arabia. A young man, Malek, has been brutally attacked for being of the ‘wrong’ race.
Malek’s lover, Leen, waits by his bedside and reflects on their relationship and her life as an unmarried, childless woman. All around her are voices of judgment and concern; in the twenty-first century it is still unforgivable. and dangerous, for a Saudi woman to enter into a relationship with a black man. In the distance US planes hover over Iraq, primed to embark on yet another senseless conflict.
Malek’s attacker wad Leen’s brother.
Flinging wide a window into the one of the holiest Islamic cities in the world – a city where people observe daily prayers and preach equality and justice – Days of Ignorance is a novel about honour, hypocrisy, war and fear. And, glimmering beyond, beneath and behind it all, it is a novel about love.
About the Author
Laila Aljohani is an award-winning Saudi Arabian writer of short stories and novels. She was born in the northern city of Tubuq, Saudi Arabia. She is the author of Always Love Will Remain (1995), which won second place at the Abha Prize for Culture, The Barren Paradise (1998), Days of Ignorance (2007) and 40 Fi Ma’ani Ina Akbar (2009). Days of Ignorance is the first of her novels to be translated into English.
Nancy Roberts is an award-winning translator of Arabic literature. Among her literary translations are Beirut ’75 by Ghada Samman, for which she won the Arkansas Arabic Translation Award, Time of White Horses by Ibrahim Nasrallah, The Mirage by Naguib Mahfouz and The Man from Bashmour by Salwa Bakr, for which she received a commendation from the judges of the 2008 Saif Ghobash-Banipal Prize.