Jana Elhassan’s ‘The Ninety-ninth Floor’: Between a Very Real Lebanon and an Imaginary NYC

Arabic Literature (in English)

Lebanese novelist Jana Elhassan found both her second and third novels on the shortlist for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF). Her third, The Ninety-ninth Floor, was translated to English by Michelle Hartman and published by Interlink last month:

99Also last month, Elhassan gave an interview to IPAF organizers about the English edition of her book. Elhassan recently moved to the US, and organizers asked her if she’d write about New York differently now:

But in The Ninety-Ninth Floor, I was not writing about the US and immersing myself in the society of this country. I wasn’t writing about America from the inside. I wrote about it as it related to the character of Majd and as a place of outsiders. And New York is still like that to me. Perhaps if I had been in America when I wrote the novel, I would have written a completely…

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