Portraits of Americans in Arabic Literature

This is an interesting post and considering it is the 4th, seemed like a good one to reblog. Have a good holiday everyone!


Just as there are a variety of Arabs in Anglo-American literature, there are a variety of Anglo-Americans in Arabic literature:

Certainly, “the American” doesn’t loom as large in Arabic literature as “the Arab” does in Anglo-American thrillers. But there are depictions, both interesting and strange, and interesting-strange. There are also dead-on, laugh-out-loud depictions, like Jack in Waguih Ghali’s Beer in the Snooker Club, a novel that was written in English.

In literary Arabic novels, Americans usually don’t get the one-dimensional treatment.

Even when they’re “bad guys,” Americans in Arabic literature are generally multi-dimensional, as with Philip Anderson, the CIA operative in Syrian novelist Khaled al-Khalifa’s International Prize for Arabic Fiction-shortlisted In Praise of Hatred (trans. Leri Price). “One autumn day some years earlier, Abdullah arrived in Peshawar from Islamabad, exhausted from the journey and a long night spent in discussions with his friend Philip Anderson. They had both quickly left…

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