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Andrew O’Hagan: From Bethlehem, 5 June 2008

... colleague the actor Khalid Abdalla came through, in company with the novelists Ahdaf Soueif and Hanan al-Shaykh. ‘What’s your grandfather’s name?’ the girls said. ‘Stand there.’ For two hours the rest of us waited outside until the harassment was over and the cultural visit could proceed. By the time we reached Bethlehem we had been in the ...

The Education of Gideon Chase

Paul Edwards, 5 June 1986

An Insular Possession 
by Timothy Mo.
Chatto, 593 pp., £9.95, May 1986, 0 7011 3078 4
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The Story of Zahra 
by Hanan al-Shaykh.
Quartet, 184 pp., £8.95, April 1986, 0 7043 2546 2
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The Lightning of August 
by Jorge Ibarguengoitia.
Chatto, 117 pp., £8.95, May 1986, 0 7011 3950 1
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... contrast, the history that presses on the young Shiite woman Zahra in the contemporary Beirut of Hanan al-Shaykh’s The Story of Zahra is an unmixed curse. There is no faith here in any reassuring rationality in history: public and private events alike are the symptoms of some hidden hereditary mental illness. On the face of it, Zahra herself is the ...

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