Sunday, April 04, 2010

Predicting the Nakba in an Israeli Novel

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.

The House of Rajani was awarded the Sapir prize in 2009, but two weeks after the public announcement on Television, the award was withdrawn due to allegations of a conflict of interest.

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 cafĂ©: 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.

For all your English to Arabic and vice versa translations that will help you expand your business into the Middle East visit Arabic Language Experts at

No comments: