‘Limbo Beirut’: A Don’t-miss Illustrated Novel of Contemporary Limbos, Beiruts

Arabic Literature (in English)

It was months ago now that novelist Hilal Chouman, translator Anna Ziajka Stanton, and ArabLit editor M. Lynx Qualey had a three-city Skype conversation about Chouman’s boundary-pushing novel Limbo Beirut, brought into five different English’s — for its five different Arabics — by Stanton:

37f20ddf-c8d3-4d79-a651-cb01f9d962fe-1672-0000094d3c44e4cf_tmp Now Qantara has run a roundup of that discussion about life, Limbo, translation, and the state of the Arabic novel. It opens:

″Limbo Beirut″ is mostly set in Beirut in May 2008, when Hezbollah and Sunni fighters clashed in the streets – a frightening after-echo of Lebanon′s fifteen-year civil war.

Yet this novel is not about warfare. As Stanton said in a three-city Skype conversation, ″Limbo Beirut″ is a demand that the reader ″balance in the uneasy space between being a voyeur and a participant, gratifying our desire to get inside the head of that stranger we meet on the street…but on the other hand…

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