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Dinarzad's Children: An Anthology of Contemporary Arab American Fiction

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In The Thousand and One Nights it is ShahrazadAa's sister, Dinarzad, who each night asks for a story. This collection of twenty-four modern tales by eighteen authors offers up a mix of previously published and new works, creating a literary road map to Arab American literature today. Here authors of Lebanese, Palestinian, Syrian, Egyptian, and Libyan descent, some with est In The Thousand and One Nights it is ShahrazadAa's sister, Dinarzad, who each night asks for a story. This collection of twenty-four modern tales by eighteen authors offers up a mix of previously published and new works, creating a literary road map to Arab American literature today. Here authors of Lebanese, Palestinian, Syrian, Egyptian, and Libyan descent, some with established reputations, others new young writers, tell tales about Muslims and Christians, recent immigrants and fully assimilated Americans, teenagers and grandmothers, guerillas and peaceniks, professors, housewives, grocers, bookies, those who long for their homeland, and those who refuse to speak Arabic. A number of the stories center on conflicts between immigrants and their American-born children. Others wrestle openly with topics such as in-group stereotyping, domestic violence, familial discord, and other difficult issues. But what sets this literature apart from other ethnic literatures is its tendency to keep an eye on the overseas political situation. By turns sassy or lyrical, biting or humorous, always moving, the stories in this collection are good reading and an important contribution to the body of ethnic American literature. Contents: How we are bound by Patricia Sarrafian Ward The new world by Susan Muaddi Darraj A frame for the sky ; Lost in freakin' yonkers by Randa Jarrar Oh, Lebanon by Evelyn Shakir Fire and sand by Laila Halaby News from Phoenix ; And what else? by Joseph Geha The salad lady by Rawi Hage The coal bin by D.H. Melhem Manar of Hama ; The spiced chicken queen of Mickaweaquah, Iowa by Mohja Kahf Stage directions for an extended conversation by Yussef El Guindi It's not about that by Samia Serageldin Airport ; Bluebird by Pauline Kaldas Edge of rock by May Mansoor Munn Shakespeare in the Gaza Strip by Sahar Kayyal Arabic lessons by David Williams


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In The Thousand and One Nights it is ShahrazadAa's sister, Dinarzad, who each night asks for a story. This collection of twenty-four modern tales by eighteen authors offers up a mix of previously published and new works, creating a literary road map to Arab American literature today. Here authors of Lebanese, Palestinian, Syrian, Egyptian, and Libyan descent, some with est In The Thousand and One Nights it is ShahrazadAa's sister, Dinarzad, who each night asks for a story. This collection of twenty-four modern tales by eighteen authors offers up a mix of previously published and new works, creating a literary road map to Arab American literature today. Here authors of Lebanese, Palestinian, Syrian, Egyptian, and Libyan descent, some with established reputations, others new young writers, tell tales about Muslims and Christians, recent immigrants and fully assimilated Americans, teenagers and grandmothers, guerillas and peaceniks, professors, housewives, grocers, bookies, those who long for their homeland, and those who refuse to speak Arabic. A number of the stories center on conflicts between immigrants and their American-born children. Others wrestle openly with topics such as in-group stereotyping, domestic violence, familial discord, and other difficult issues. But what sets this literature apart from other ethnic literatures is its tendency to keep an eye on the overseas political situation. By turns sassy or lyrical, biting or humorous, always moving, the stories in this collection are good reading and an important contribution to the body of ethnic American literature. Contents: How we are bound by Patricia Sarrafian Ward The new world by Susan Muaddi Darraj A frame for the sky ; Lost in freakin' yonkers by Randa Jarrar Oh, Lebanon by Evelyn Shakir Fire and sand by Laila Halaby News from Phoenix ; And what else? by Joseph Geha The salad lady by Rawi Hage The coal bin by D.H. Melhem Manar of Hama ; The spiced chicken queen of Mickaweaquah, Iowa by Mohja Kahf Stage directions for an extended conversation by Yussef El Guindi It's not about that by Samia Serageldin Airport ; Bluebird by Pauline Kaldas Edge of rock by May Mansoor Munn Shakespeare in the Gaza Strip by Sahar Kayyal Arabic lessons by David Williams

30 review for Dinarzad's Children: An Anthology of Contemporary Arab American Fiction

  1. 4 out of 5

    Marisela

    Some really good short stories in here. It did range. Some were a tad predictable. But a good read none the less.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mom

    Short stories are not my favorite -- just as I get involved with a character, the story is over. But this was a good introduction to some Arab American writers of diverse backgrounds. And the characters are diverse as well -- Christian and Muslim, recent immigrants and American-born, assimilated and not. My favorite stories were "News from Phoenix" in which an Arab and a Jewish couple slowly overcome their suspicion and become friends, "Spiced Chicken Queen" about an abused woman who is fearful Short stories are not my favorite -- just as I get involved with a character, the story is over. But this was a good introduction to some Arab American writers of diverse backgrounds. And the characters are diverse as well -- Christian and Muslim, recent immigrants and American-born, assimilated and not. My favorite stories were "News from Phoenix" in which an Arab and a Jewish couple slowly overcome their suspicion and become friends, "Spiced Chicken Queen" about an abused woman who is fearful of her husband and yet unable to get much help from the American legal system until she very cleverly solves her own dilemma, and "Edge of Rock" which shows the difficulty of adapting to a new culture, a new language, an unfamiliar place, all while facing fear for a struggling child. If you are a fan of short stories, and especially if you are interested in the Arab view, this is an interesting collection.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ming

    A rich sampling of short stories by a diverse and talented group of American writers. Several author's works, such as Randa Jarrar's (a favorite author of mine), were bold on its own terms, outside of this collection. Other stories reflected themes which are familiar from having read about other American immigrant experiences, such as those of Asian Americans and Latinos. I was heartened by those similarities. Ultimately, I most appreciated and enjoyed the range of topics, styles and creativity i A rich sampling of short stories by a diverse and talented group of American writers. Several author's works, such as Randa Jarrar's (a favorite author of mine), were bold on its own terms, outside of this collection. Other stories reflected themes which are familiar from having read about other American immigrant experiences, such as those of Asian Americans and Latinos. I was heartened by those similarities. Ultimately, I most appreciated and enjoyed the range of topics, styles and creativity in this volume. And I hope there will be additional ones to come.

  4. 5 out of 5

    sdw

    Many works on Arab American Literature begin with Shahrazad, the story-teller from The Thousand and One Nights . This anthology begins with Shahrazad's sister Dinarzad. She is the one who requests the story. As the editors point out, "Central as she was to the structure of the tales, she disappears into silence." The editors find Dinarzad a more appropriate figure for contemporary Arab American experience. Dinarzad becomes a figure to discuss silence and absence and the hidden vanished narrative Many works on Arab American Literature begin with Shahrazad, the story-teller from The Thousand and One Nights . This anthology begins with Shahrazad's sister Dinarzad. She is the one who requests the story. As the editors point out, "Central as she was to the structure of the tales, she disappears into silence." The editors find Dinarzad a more appropriate figure for contemporary Arab American experience. Dinarzad becomes a figure to discuss silence and absence and the hidden vanished narratives. Through Dinarzad the editors use the trope of "coming out." This is Dinarzad's coming out. This is the coming out not only of Arab American literature but specifically the contemporary short story as Arab American prose more than poetry has lacked visibility. I have moved through a number of anthologies of Arab American literature in the past few months. Dinarzad's Children may be my favorite. This is largely because it is full of short stories (my favorite genre of the moment) and because the short stories speak more directly to the ambiguities of the present than I found the prose pieces in many earlier anthologies to do.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Spokanemadge

  6. 4 out of 5

    Courtney

  7. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin Walker

  8. 5 out of 5

    Erin

  9. 5 out of 5

    Brian

  10. 4 out of 5

    Nora Eltahawy

  11. 4 out of 5

    Nora Hood

  12. 5 out of 5

    Annalise

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sami

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rorreta Lampica

  15. 4 out of 5

    Candice

  16. 4 out of 5

    Leon

  17. 4 out of 5

    RoyaSyntax

  18. 5 out of 5

    Priscilla

  19. 5 out of 5

    Thérèse Chehade

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kate Elliott

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nora Hood

  22. 5 out of 5

    Americanenglishexper

  23. 4 out of 5

    A Crafty Arab

  24. 4 out of 5

    Abraham Sammy

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jacara Brown

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sara

  27. 4 out of 5

    Marielle Risse

  28. 4 out of 5

    Americanenglishexper

  29. 4 out of 5

    Anna

  30. 4 out of 5

    Julie

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