Walid Masoud disappears. A Palestinian intellectual, he has been living in Baghdad since the first Israeli War of 1948. As a member of an organization engaged in the armed struggle against Israel, suspicion arises that he has gone underground as part of a political movement. Masoud leaves behind a lengthy but disconnected tape recording of garbled utterances through which Jabra Ibrahim Jabra artfully crafts the basis for the narration. He transforms the transcription of the tape by each of Masoud's comrades into a study of character. Through a series of monologues, each becomes a narrator of his own experience.
Readers of The Ship (also translated by Adnan Haydar and Roger Allen) will remember the ingenious way the political themes emerge through the dialogue between passengers on a ship crossing the Mediterranean from the Arab to the European world. This novel echoes identical subjects: the misperceptions between western and Islamic cultures, personal landscape as a shaper of culture, and the necessity of political commitment.
A tour de force that places the evolution of the Faulknerian style into a political register, this book makes available to an English-speaking audience the brilliance of one of Palestine's most preeminent writers.