Days of Ignorance

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 1/20/2015
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA

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The story opens with Hashem crouching over the body of Malek, his sister Leen's lover. Hashem has always been horrified that the man his sister loves is black, and one day his anger erupts in an outburst of violence that puts Malek in a coma.

As Leen waits by Malek's bed, she reflects on their love affair and her life as an unmarried, childless woman; an anomaly, in a country like hers. The story is juxtaposed with the unfolding of the Iraq war; another needless conflict.

Full of poetry, from ancient odes, elegies and prayers to the lyricism in the characters' language, Days of Ignorance is a tough, unforgettable and modern portrait of Saudi life.

The original Arabic version of the title refers to an Islamic concept of "ignorance of divine guidance" or "Days of Ignorance" referring to the condition in which Arabs found themselves in pre-Islamic Arabia.

Author Biography

Laila Aljohani (born 1969) is a Saudi Arabian novelist and short story writer. She was born in the northern city of Tubuq. She studied at King Abdul Aziz University in Medina, obtaining a bachelors' degree in English literature. She then went on to receive an MA in Foreign Languages and a PhD in education/psychology, the latter from the University of Tiba in Medina. She has written a number of short stories and novels. Her debut novel, Always Love Will Remain, won second place of the Abha Prize for Culture in 1995. Since then, three further novels have been published: The Barren Paradise (1998), Jahiliyya (the Arabic edition of Days of Ignorance, 2007), and 40 Fi Ma'ani Ina Akbar (2009). Excerpts from her novels have appeared in English translation in Banipal magazine. Aljohani has won a number of literary prizes in her native country.

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