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About this title
The year is 1970, a period of crisis in the Arab world. Twenty-year-old Hisham has left home for the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh, where he’s enrolled at university to study politics and economics. But this city has more than academic qualifications to offer a man of Hisham’s mettle, and he soon discovers a strange underworld of alcohol and prostitution where fear, pleasure and politics merge. Here hospitals prove the richest cruising grounds; the desert is the place for illicit couplings; and now Hisham is spying on the bedroom activities of his next-door neighbour’s wife, who has taken to leaving her door ajar.
Meanwhile, Hisham’s disillusioned childhood friend Adnan abandons his artistic ambitions in favour of a loftier cause Islam. The two friends who rapidly grow estranged come to symbolise the opposite extremes of life in a repressive closed society. But their shared past soon conspires to reunite them in a new and terrifying way.
The second novel in a trilogy by one of the Arab world's best known authors, Shumaisi vividly illustrates the dichotomy between self-determination and obedience to rigid traditionalism as it is played out between two friends. The year is 1970, a period of identity crisis in the Arab world. Hisham, the young hero of Al-Hamad's previous novel Adama, is a university student in Riyadh. He studies by day and pursues forbidden pleasures by night. Meanwhile, Hisham's disillusioned childhood friend Adnan abandons his artistic ambitions in favor of Islamism.
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