A book I would love to translate (are you listening, Alon?) into Arabic. A book that MUST be translated into Arabic, and translated well.
House of Rajani (Harvill Secker - Random House UK), takes place in 1895 Jaffa. It records the diaries of Salah Rajani, a 12-year old Moslem child cursed with prophetical powers who foresees the rising of the Jewish state; and of a 27 year old Jewish colonist, new to the city of Jaffa, who takes both Salah's mother and their house.
Arab Israelis – among them Radio Cairo correspondent Khamis Abulafia and politician Ahmed Tibi – have called the book "riveting" and claim to find an echo of the Palestinian narrative embedded within.
Alon says that the main catalyst to write the book came from a deja vu feeling: "The initial catalyst for writing it came from a scene I envisioned one day as I sat in a Tel Aviv café: all at once I stripped the present reality of its clothes – the Bauhaus buildings, the uniquely Israeli window blinds, the ugly air-conditioning units, the ficus trees, the asphalt sidewalks, the low stone walls – and I could picture the orchards and groves and prickly pear cactuses of the Palestinians who had lived there in the past. I shuddered, and at that moment I decided to try to pass that feeling along to my readers in a historical novel about Tel Aviv's Palestinian past and about the first wave of Jewish immigration."
An expert from the novel can be read here.