6 Books Set In The Middle-East

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Middle Eastern literature is becoming increasingly popular with increased readership as a result of translations and many people turning to books to learn about the prevalent issues.

Here are some books that may pique your interest:

Palestine By Joe Sacco

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Joe Sacco, a cartoonist & journalist, recounts his time in the West Bank and Gaza Strip from December 1991 to January 1992. He meets many Palestinians and shares some of their lived experiences to document their plight.

The Museum Of Innocence By Orhan Pamuk

The Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk

Kemal is smitten by Fusun even though he is engaged. Set against the backdrop of Istanbul, it raises questions bigger than the characters it is centered around. Was their love brazen or fortunate? Do museums invade people’s personal space to make displays out of their life?

Celestial Bodies By Jokha Alharthi

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Three sisters in al-Awafi in Oman struggle with their different approaches in love and loss. The story spans across multiple generations to show the country trying to define itself after colonialism. It became the first book written by an Omani woman to be translated into English and the first Arabic novel to win the Man Booker International Prize.

Palace Walk By Naguib Mahfouz

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The first book in the Cairo Trilogy. al-Sayyid Ahmad Abd al-Jawad rules his household with an iron fist while secretly indulging himself. A family saga of trials and tribulations set in Egypt. It shows how the two world wars impacted their lives as well as the country.

Second Person Singular By Sayed Kashua

Second Person Singular by Sayed Kashua

Part psychological fiction and part mystery, the book revolves around identity, nationalism, and religion. A wildly successful Arab lawyer finds a note in a used book in a bookstore. The handwriting matches that of his wife and it seems to be addressed to the previous owner- a man named Yonatan. He sets out to find the man which results in his whole life unravelling.

Girls Of Riyadh By Rajaa Alsanea

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Fans of Sex and the City should give it a try. Four women are conversing through emails, dishing out secrets, and gossip while trying to maintain their ‘good Muslim woman’ image. In this book, we see women fighting the patriarchy by sneaking out and living dual lives and the power of female friendships.

Have you read any book by middle-eastern author?