Middle Eastern Fiction
- The Bastard of Istanbul by Elif Shafak (2007)
- Turkish teen Asya is coming of age under the wing of her tattoo-parlor owner mother and her three aunts, befriending a cousin from America, and discovering a secret that links her family to the 1915 Armenian deportations and massacres.
- Belshazzar's Daughter by Barbara Nadel (2004)
- When an elderly man is brutally murdered in Istanbul's decrepit Jewish quarter, it seems frighteningly likely that the motive was racial. Baffled by the nature of the crime, the Turkish police unleash their best weapon, the chain-smoking, brandy-swilling Inspector Cetin Ikmen, husband to a strict Muslim woman (who disapproves of his drinking) and loving father of eight (with another on the way).
- Bethlehem Road Murder, by Batya Gur, translated by Vivian Eden (2004)
- Investigating the murder of a woman found in the Baka neighborhood of Jerusalem, Chief Superintendent Michael Ohayon finds the case complicated by tensions between local Jewish and Arab residents. By the author of Murder Duet .
- Birds Without Wings by Louis de Bernières (2004)
- In a small town in Anatolia in the final days of the Ottoman Empire, the lives of its inhabitants--Armenians, Christians, and Muslims--peacefully intertwine, until Mustafa Kemal, a powerful military leader, conscripts the young men of the village to battle the invading Western European forces during the Great War, and religious fanaticism and nationalism destroy the peace. By the author of Corelli's Mandolin.
- The Book of Intimate Grammar by David Grossman; translated from the Hebrew by Betsy Rosenberg (1994)
- Vowing to never grow up and enter the brutality of the adult world in Jerusalem, the imaginative Ahron, once the ringleader of his friends, ignores the growing regimentation that they call patriotism as Israel approaches the Six-Day War.
- The Cairo Triology: Palace Walk, Palace of Desire & Sugar Street by Naguib Mahfouz
- Palace Walk (1989): At the end of World War I, al-Sayyid Ahmad explores Cairo at night while his family stays at home living according to the Qur'an.
Palace of Desire (1991): Al-Sayyid decides to end his five-year abstinence from women and liquor after the death of his son, while his adult children continue to struggle.
Sugar Street (1992): In 1935, Egypt chafes under British occupation, and the Ahmad family splits between Muslim fundamentalism and Marxism.
- The Covenant by Naomi Ragen (2004)
- Her worst fears realized when her husband and daughter disappear from their violent Jerusalem community, a pregnant Elise Margulies desperately calls her grandmother in America for help and finds herself joining a multi-generational group of everyday people on the front lines against terrorism.
- The Distance Between Us by Masha Hamilton (2004
- Caddie Blair is a war correspondent in the Middle East whose life is tragically changed in a single second. En route to a high-level interview, she and her lover, Marcus, are caught in an ambush; he catches a bullet and dies beside her. Suddenly, the immunity that Caddie had built up to gunfire, tanks, and corpses evaporates. Faced with survivor's guilt and the loss of her journalistic detachment, Caddie must develop new defense mechanisms to endure the violent world she has called home for years. Enter Goronsky, another victim of terrorism, who holds the deep belief that revenge is the best choice to combat evil. Hamilton, once a foreign correspondent, has crafted a compelling tale of reprisal and endurance with a rich cast of characters.
- Double Blank, by Yasmina Khadra, translated from the French by Aubrey Botsford (2005)
- Superintendent Brahim Llob of the Algerian police force sets out to solve the murder of Ben Ouda, a retired diplomat who had earlier asked Llob, himself an author, for help in writing a book about the Islamic fundamentalist violence plaguing the nation. As the bodies pile up, Llob's investigation leads him not only into the more squalid zones of Algiers but also into the homes and retreats of the wealthy. Yasmina Khadra is the pseudonym of Mohamed Moulessehoul, a former high-ranking Algerian military officer. His Superintendent Llob detective story trilogy includes Morituri and Autumn of the Phantoms . The author now lives in exile in France.
- Ester's Child by Jean Sasson (2001)
- Follows the lives of members of three families: the Gale family, Jewish settlers living in Jerusalem; Demetrius Antoun, raised in the Shatila refugee camp in Beirut; and Christine Kleist, daughter of a guilt-ridden former S.S. officer.
- The Gardens of Light by Amin Maalouf (1999)
- A novel about the life of Mani, a third-century Persian mystic, whose dualistic religious philosophy, Manichaeism, was destroyed by religious enemies who persecuted its believers and burned its texts after Mani was betrayed by the heir of the ruler who had been his protector.
- The Genizah at the House of Shepher by Tamar Yellin (2005)
- Shulamit, a biblical scholar from England, returns to her grandparents' home in Jerusalem for a visit after an absence of many years. Almost immediately she becomes embroiled in a family feud over possession of the so-called Shepher Codex, a mysterious and valuable manuscript which has been discovered in the attic. Set against the backdrop of a changing Jerusalem over a hundred and thirty years, The Genizah at the House of Shepher is a large-canvas novel of exile and belonging, displacement, and the quest for both love and a true promised land.
- The Hakawati by Rabih Alameddine (2008)
- Returning to Beirut after many years in America in anticipation of his father's coming death, Osama al-Kharrat finds a turbulent, war-torn city far different than that he remembers but takes solace in the entertaining stories of his hakawati (storyteller) grandfather, in a novel that brings together imaginative retellings of classic Middle Eastern tales with the world of modern-day Lebanon.
- The Harafish by Naguib Mahfouz ; translated by Catherine Cobham (1994)
- A multigenerational saga chronicles the dramatic rise and fall of the al-Nagi family, from Ashur, a man of humble origins who becomes a great leader, through the decadence and decay of his descendants, to their final redemption.
- The Janissary Tree by Jason Goodwin (2006)
- When the Ottoman Empire of 1836 is shattered by a wave of political murders that threatens to upset the balance of power, eunuch intelligence agent Yashim Togalu conducts an investigation into clues within the empire's once-elite military forces, which had been crushed by the Sultan when they became too powerful.
- The Journey of Ibn Fattouma by Naguib Mahfouz, translated by Denys Johnson-Davies (1992)
- Thwarted in marriage, Ibn Fattouma sets out with a caravan to explore the world, and along the way he marries, sires children, loses his family, is imprisoned for twenty years, and is involved in two civil wars.
- The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (2003)
- Traces the unlikely friendship of a wealthy Afghanistani youth and a servant's son, in a tale that spans the final days of the nation's monarchy through the atrocities of the present day.
- Legacy of Love by Caroline Harvey (2000)
- A sweeping novel following three generations of women from the colonial foment of the late nineteenth century through World War II.
- Louisa by Simon Zelitch (2000)
- Nora, a sturdy Holocaust survivor, arrives in Palestine in 1949 and lands in an "absorption camp" where everyone is in training to become a good Israeli. By the author of The Confession of Jack Straw.
- The Map of Love by Ahdaf Soueif (2000)
- At the end of the twentieth century, Isabel Parkman, a divorced American journalist, journeys to Egypt to unravel the truth behind her ancestor Anna Winterbourne, an English widow who, in 1901, falls in love with an Egyptian, Sharif Pasha al-Baroudi, a love affair that is echoed in her own turbulent relationship with a gifted Egyptian-American conductor. A Booker Prize finalist.
- Martyrs' Crossing by Amy Wilentz (2001)
- An Israeli lieutenant falls in love with the wife of jailed Palestinian militant in the midst of a wave of terrorism that he may have set into motion because of following orders to refuse to allow passage to a young mother and her ailing child.
- The Maze by Panos Karnezis (2004)
- In retreat from a failed 1922 invasion of Turkey, Greek soldiers stumble across a quiet town where an odd cast of characters seems to be living untouched by the war--a local courtesan, the politician and schoolteacher competing for her, and a failed journalist who is drinking his troubles away.
- My Name is Red, by Orhan Pamuk, translated by Erdag Göknar (2001)
- A furor erupts when the Sultan hires a group of artists, under the direction of Master Uncle, to illuminate a great book in the European style to celebrate his reign at a time in which all figurative art is considered Islamic heresy, but the situation becomes worse when one of the miniaturists vanishes, in a mystery set against the backdrop of religious repression in sixteenth-century Istanbul. Pamuk is one of the foremost Turkish writers of his generation; other titles include The Black Book, The New Life, and a memoir, Istanbul: Memories and the City.
- Nadia's Song by Soheir Khashoggi (2005)
- After a romance with her wealthy employer's son renders her a heartbroken single mother, servant girl Karima Ismail eventually achieves stardom as one of Egypt's most famous singers, but her life is shattered by her daughter's disappearance.
- Savushun: A Novel about Modern Iran by Simin Daneshvar (1990)
- An heroic father and his family try to survive in Shiraz during World War II while the Allies occupy the city.
- Seven Blessings by Ruchama King (2003)
- The closed, secret world of matchmaking in contemporary Israel provides the titillating pivot for a story of uncommon proportions. In Ruchama King's skillful hands, Seven Blessings maps out the complicated lives of five expatriate women and men whose search for a soul mate, in many ways, mirrors their search for God.
- Snow by Orhan Pamuk; translated from the Turkish by Maureen Freely (2005)
- Losing touch with his creative nature by years of lonely political exile, Turkish poet Ka returns to Istanbul to attend his mother's funeral and learns about a series of suicides among pious girls forbidden to wear headscarves, a story that brings him face-to-face with militant Islam, a new romance, and his own atheism.
- Songs My Mother Never Taught Me, by Selçuk Altun, translated by Ruth Christie and Selçuk Berilgen (2008)
- After the death of his overbearing mother, the privileged Arda reflects on his young life, and on the life of his father, the famous mathematician Mursel Ergenekon, who was murdered on Arda's fourteenth birthday. Meanwhile, on the other side of the city Bedirhan has decided to pack in his ten-year career as an assassin.
- Staircase of a Thousand Steps by Masha Hamilton (2001)
- A Middle Eastern village provides the backdrop for a coming-of-age tale centered around a midwife and her granddaughter Jammana, two women caught between the old world and the new.
- The Stone Woman by Tariq Ali (2001)
- Each year, when the weather in Istanbul becomes unbearable, the family of Iskender Pasha, a retired Ottoman notable, retires to its summer palace overlooking the Sea of Marmara. It is 1899 and the last great Islamic empire is in serious trouble. The history of Iskender Pasha's family mirrors the growing degeneration of the Empire they have served for the last five hundred years. This passionate story of masters and servants, school-teachers and painters, is marked by jealousies, vendettas and, with the decay of the Empire, a new generation which is deeply hostile to the half-truths and myths of the 'golden days.' The third novel of Tariq Ali's 'Islam Quartet'.
- Triple Time by Anne Sanow (2009)
- A compelling collection of short stories about expatriots and natives in modern Saudi Arabia, and the uneasy mesh of divergent peoples in a desert land where oil is the source of riches and cultural upheaval. Winner of the 2009 Drue Heinz Literature Prize.
- The Winter Thief by Jenny White (2010)
- In late-19th-century Istanbul, a bank robbery and the discovery of an illegal-weapons cache lead Special Prosecutor Kamil Pasha to uncover a plan to massacre an entire valley, but before he can stop it, he must contend with being framed for murder and accused of treason, as a well as a threat to his family and the woman he loves. By the author of The Sultan's Seal.
- A Woman in Jerusalem by A. B. Yehoshua ; translated from the Hebrew by Hillel Halkin (2006)
- Assigned the difficult task of identifying and burying the victim of a suicide bombing at a Jerusalem market, a human resources representative reluctantly pieces together the woman's past as a former Soviet engineer and a non-Jewish person on a religious pilgrimage.
- The Yacoubian Building by Alaa Al Aswani translated by Humphrey Davies (2006)
- This controversial bestselling novel in the Arab world reveals the political corruption, sexual repression, religious extremism, and modern hopes of Egypt today. All manner of flawed and fragile humanity reside in the Yacoubian Building, a once-elegant temple of Art Deco splendor now slowly decaying in the smog and bustle of downtown Cairo: a fading aristocrat and self-proclaimed "scientist of women," a sultry, voluptuous siren; a devout young student, feeling the irresistible pull toward fundamentalism; a newspaper editor helplessly in love with a policeman; and a corrupt and corpulent politician, twisting the Koran to justify his desires.
- Young Turk by Moris Farhi (2005)
- A series of thirteen interconnected stories follows the experiences of a circle of young friends who come of age in the increasingly politicized nation of Turkey before, during, and after World War II, from a psychic girl who foresees the Holocaust, to a Jewish boy who sets off for occupied Greece to rescue his family, to a boy who struggles to save a national poet.
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