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5 English Novels by Arab Authors to Read This Summer

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Whether you need a new exciting book to read while you lounge by the pool or something to accompany you on your next weekend road trip, we have you covered with a list of some of the most interesting English novels written by Arab authors.

Read on to find your pick.

The Yacoubian Building By Alaa Al Aswany (Egypt)

The Yacoubian Building was known as an Art Deco gem and a high profile address for Cairo high society. Now, set in the 1990s, the place is rundown and has seen better days – as have its older residents, who are now joined by newcomers seeking refuge. Author Alaa Al Aswany weaves a series of interesting stories about the occupants.

The Lady from Tel Aviv By Rabai Al-Mahdoun

The Lady from Tel Aviv is a challenging, yet profound new insight into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The novel tells the story of Walid Dahman, an exile from Gaza who returns home for the first time in many years, and Dana Ahuva, an Israeli who sits next to him on the flight back to Tel Aviv. Their conversation addresses issues of identity, cultural memory as well as covers the realities of those in the Palestinian diaspora.

Only in London By Hanan Al-Shaykh (Lebanon)

As a flight from Dubai comes into London’s Heathrow and hits turbulence, four people from different corners of the Arab world are thrown together – literally and figuratively. Landing safely they go their separate ways, but from then on they find their lives are intimately intertwined.

The Bamboo Stalk By Saud Alsanousi (Kuwait)

Saud Alsanousi won the 2013 International Prize for Arabic Fiction with this novel. The story revolves around the son of a wealthy family, who has a child with a lowly guest worker. José, the protagonist, is a product of two worlds that have a complicated relationship.

Arabian Love Poems by Nizar Kabbani (Syria)

Nizar Kabbani was an advocate of women’s rights and is the most popular poet in the Arab world. This is the first English-language collection of his work – beautifully translated and contains his own handwritten Arabic text.

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