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New releases: Two books about the struggles of the marginalised, by Kuwaiti writer Al-Rifaei

Al-Shorouk has released two new books from Taleb Al-Rifaei, a novel and a collection of short stories, both on themes of struggle and desire for freedom

Ahram Online, Wednesday 24 Oct 2012
Taleb Al-Refaei
Taleb Al-Rifaei (Photo: Al-Ahram Digital)

Zell Al-Shams (Shadow of the Sun) by Taleb Al-Rifaei, Cairo: Dar Al-Shorouk, 2012.

The new edition of Zell Al-Shams by Kuwaiti author, Taleb Al-Rifaei, reflects on the struggle Egyptians face while working in Kuwait. Through the story of an Egyptian teacher who sacrifices everything for the dream of making money and returning home successful, Al-Rifaei outlines challenges economic migrants often cannot escape.

In the introduction, Al-Rifaei writes that he started writing the novel in 1996, after 14 years of work in the construction field. This allowed him to understand "lives on the margins, in the shadows." He adds that he wrote Zell Al-Shams to "document the bare reality," writing "my own autobiography through imagining myself."

Al-Korsi (The Chair) by Taleb Al-Rifaei, Cairo: Dar Al-Shorouk, 2012.

This new collection of 14 short stories includes an introduction by Palestinian critic Faisal Draj, stating that "The book is about the thrones of power, or authoritative chairs, in all shapes and sizes, the high and the higher, the bloody and the bloodier, the massive, oppressive, adorned and golden … all of which await their end … Taleb Al-Rifaei collected substance for his collection from the many metaphors of the chairs, from a living Arab reality, including deep inner observation that is loaded with sadness but not departing from hope. And maybe the breadth of the topic, and the blood of the angry masses, is what pushed the author to this open, liberated, rebellious spirit."

Al-Rifaei states that the collection reflects on the Arab revolt that started in 2011 and that caused a significant historical turn, not only in the region but in how the world looks at the Arab people in their struggle for freedom, dignity and democracy, The book is dedicated to "The souls of the martyrs who walked the path of freedom, dreaming of a better morning that will dawn on their Arab nations."

Each of the 14 stories bears the same title, The Chair, but with a different number, each telling of one throne of authority, one torture chair, one punishment chair, etc.

Al-Rifaei is a prominent Kuwaiti writer with a number of published works beneath his belt, including Night Time Words. His works are published by many of the Arab world's most prestigious publishing houses.

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