Valley of Ashes

by Fagih, Ahmed

Ahmed Ibrahim al Fagih is one of the five leading contemporary writers of the Arab world, and his famous novel, Valley of Ashes, is available in English for the first time. A poetic coming-of-age story, Valley of Ashes portrays a tale of innocent love set against the harsh background of a traditional desert village. Jamila, the main character, defies the traditions of her village and pursues a teaching career, becoming the object of much derision and contempt because of her wilfulness and independence. In addition, she possesses an enchanting beauty and goodness that drives men mad and women wild with jealousy. Through the course of the novel, Jamila develops intellectually, emotionally and spiritually, and in the end, she must come to terms with the consequences of a life free of bias and ignorance, as she is met with opposition from those she loves and those who refuse to understand her.