Magazine article The New Yorker

Arabian Days

Magazine article The New Yorker

Arabian Days

Article excerpt

In 1946, Denys Johnson-Davies, a Canadian-born, British-educated translator living in Cairo, published a volume of short stories by the Egyptian author Mahmoud Taymour. It was one of the first books of Arabic short stories to appear in English translation, and in the ensuing half-century Johnson-Davies has produced more than twenty-five volumes of translations, including several by the Nobelist Naguib Mahfouz.

Johnson-Davies notes that many talented Arabic writers live outside the Arab world: for instance, the Lebanese novelist Hanan al-Shaykh, the British-based author of ONLY IN LONDON (Pantheon), which was translated from the Arabic by Catherine Cobham and tells the story of four strangers who meet on a plane returning from Dubai. And the Egyptian writer Nabil Naoum Gorgy, who now resides in Paris, has published a promising short-story collection, THE SLAVE'S DREAM AND OTHER STORIES (Quartet/Interlink). …

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