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A Land without Jasmine

A Land without Jasmine: An Occult Tale of Sexuality in Yemen

by Wajdi al-Ahdal

Imprint: Garnet Authors: Wajdi al-Ahdal Translators: William M. Hutchins Categories: Recently Published Titles, Fiction Tags: Literature in Translation, Middle Eastern literature, Yemen ISBN: 9781859643105 Size: 214 x 138 Binding: Paperback Publication Date: August 2012 RRP:
Photo Credit: Haleh Darabi

Joint winner of the 2013 Saif Ghobash Banipal Arabic Literary Translation Prize

An intriguing fiction from Yemen: A Land without Jasmine is a sexy, satirical detective story about the sudden disappearance of a young female student from Yemen’s Sanaa University. Each chapter is narrated by a different character beginning with Jasmine herself. The mystery surrounding her disappearance comes into clearer focus with each self-serving and idiosyncratic account provided by an acquaintance, family member, or detective.

As the details surrounding her sudden disappearance emerge the mystery deepens. Sexual depravity, honour, obsession; the motives are numerous and the suspects plentiful.  It seems that everyone wants a piece of the charming young student.  Family, friends, fellow students and nosey neighbours are quick to make their own judgements on the case, but the truth may be far stranger than anyone anticipates.

This short novel has echoes of both the Sherlock Holmes stories and The Catcher in the Rye, as in addition to the mystery and a murder, the novel contains candid discussions of coming of age in a land of sexual repression. Wajdi al-Ahdal is a satirical author with a fresh and provocative voice and an excellent eye for telling the details of his world.

About the author(s):

Wajdi al-Ahdal Wajdi al-Ahdal is a Yemeni novelist, author of short stories, screenwriter and dramatist. Born in 1973, he received a degree in literature from Sanaa University. He won the Afif prize for the short story in 1997, a gold medal for a dramatic text in the Festival for Arab Youth in Alexandria, Egypt, in 1998, and the youth prize of the President of the Republic of Yemen for a short story in 1999. He is currently employed in Dar al-Kutub, the National Library in Sanaa.
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