The Authorized, Abridged, and Annotated Edition for Students of Arabic
Al-Samt wa-al-Sakhab (The Silence and the Roar) is an award-winning novella by Syrian author Nihad Sirees. This edition—abridged and in the original Arabic with vocabulary aids, reading questions, and supplementary materials—introduces intermediate and advanced Arabic language students to the world of contemporary Arab literature.
In Al-Samt wa-al-Sakhab, Sirees weaves an Orwellian tale of freedom, love, and resistance amid a backdrop of bureaucracy and despotism. Fathi Sheen is a writer living in an unnamed Middle Eastern country whose work has been silenced by the ruling government and its despotic leader. On the twentieth anniversary of the regime, Fathi decides to leave the roar of the parade snaking its way through the city and visit his mother and his girlfriend, but when he stops to help a student being beaten by the police, his ID is confiscated. With no choice but to report to the police station, Fathi fights to stay sane against the oppressive—and increasingly absurd—state bureaucracy. This political satire, originally published in 2004 but no less relevant to our times, shows how to remain free even in captivity.
In this abridged and annotated edition for the Arabic language classroom, editor Hanadi Al-Samman includes a historical and cultural preface in Arabic, a biography of Sirees, footnotes for vocabulary aid, and pre- and postreading questions and activities to guide students through the book's literary concepts and to teach literary analysis skills. An interview with Sirees and excerpt readings in his voice are available on the publisher's website. Authorized by Sirees, this edition preserves the author's original style while making the novella easy to use in the classroom or to read independently.
About the Authors
Nihad Sirees was born in Aleppo, Syria, in 1950. The writer of novels, plays, and screenplays, Sirees is best known for his realistic portrayal of Syria's social, political, and historical issues. Although his work was banned from publication in Syria after Sirees was branded an opponent of the government, The Silence and the Roar has been translated into several languages. After facing increased pressure and surveillance from the Syrian government, Sirees left for Egypt in 2012. He currently lives in Berlin, Germany.
"This excellently abridged version of Syrian author Nihad Sirees's explosive but by now canonical novel Al-Samt wa al-Sakhab is a welcome addition to the growing body of textbooks for advanced Arabic students. Hanadi Al-Samman has annotated the novel, included an invaluable interview with and readings by the author, and provided intriguing and thought-provoking discussion themes. This book should be used by all professors of Arabic not only for its classroom exercises but also for the story it tells of a devastated country and its resilient citizens."—Miriam Cooke, Braxton Craven Professor of Arab Cultures, Duke University
"Hanadi Al-Samman's annotated edition of the Syrian novel Al-Samt wa-al-Sakhab adds brilliantly to Georgetown University Press's initiative to provide works of Arabic literature for students in their third and fourth years of Arabic instruction. This edition offers students the satisfaction of consuming a real, contemporary Arab novel after several years of nibbling at snippets."—William M. Hutchins, translator of Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz's Cairo Trilogy
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