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In 2003, Osama al-Kharrat returns to Beirut after many years in America to stand vigil at his father's deathbed. As the family gathers, stories begin to unfold: Osama's grandfather was a hakawati, or storyteller, and his bewitching tales are interwoven with classic stories of the Middle East. Here are Abraham and Isaac; Ishmael, father of the Arab tribes; the beautiful Fatima; Baybars, the slave prince who vanquished the Crusaders; and a host of mischievous imps. Through Osama, we also enter the world of the contemporary Lebanese men and women whose stories tell a larger, heartbreaking tale of seemingly endless war, conflicted identity, and survival. With The Hakawati, Rabih Alameddine has given us an Arabian Nights for this century.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Published: VintageAnchor an imprint of Random House Publishing Group on Jan 1, 2008
ISBN: 9780307269270
List price: $11.99
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I haven't read any fiction in a while, and this granted reaffirmed the proposition that the Lebanese claim to have invented or been a part of everything great in the history of the region/world/universe, but nonetheless a brisk, lovely read.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A long, unique novel with interweaving narratives that appear to have absolutely nothing in common, apart from both being about Arabs. One narrative takes place in the days of yore and features Arabian Night style tales which include magic. Another takes place in contemporary Lebanon and is realistic. It was hard to keep track of the many, many characters introduced, but ultimately this is an interesting read, especially if you are familiar with Arab folklore.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I couldn't get into this. It's a tale within a tale interwoven into the story of several generations of a Lebanese Christian family. Lots of characters and to add to the confusion the characters from the story are woven into the tales and use the same names. Ay yi yi.read more
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Reviews

I haven't read any fiction in a while, and this granted reaffirmed the proposition that the Lebanese claim to have invented or been a part of everything great in the history of the region/world/universe, but nonetheless a brisk, lovely read.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A long, unique novel with interweaving narratives that appear to have absolutely nothing in common, apart from both being about Arabs. One narrative takes place in the days of yore and features Arabian Night style tales which include magic. Another takes place in contemporary Lebanon and is realistic. It was hard to keep track of the many, many characters introduced, but ultimately this is an interesting read, especially if you are familiar with Arab folklore.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I couldn't get into this. It's a tale within a tale interwoven into the story of several generations of a Lebanese Christian family. Lots of characters and to add to the confusion the characters from the story are woven into the tales and use the same names. Ay yi yi.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
An amazingly talented, writer, Rabih Alameddine’s previous fictions, Koolaids (which mixed AIDS, the Lebanese Civil War, and Tom Cruise fantasies), his “Novel in First Chapters” I, The Divine, and the short stories in The Perv (whose titular story is told by a very unreliable, possibly insane, narrator) have shown him to be a first class literary trickster and fabulist. With The Hakawati he proves he has a story – many stories -- for us all. This is alive, vibrant, and life-encompassing novel deserves a space on the shelf beside the classic tales it remixes, to be read and reread. The best stories are the ones you can hear told again and again.
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I really wanted to love this book. It's beautiful and well-written but just not for me. Perhaps if someone read it aloud. Perhaps if it was shorter. Maybe the time just isn't right; there are so many novels I want to read.
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This is one of my all-time favorite books. The writing is amazing and the way Alameddine weaves the lives of a modern Lebanese family with timeless Arab tales is breath taking. Despite the great number of characters in this book each one is strong and interesting. To sum it up I loved it and now I'm on the search for one that is as good.
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