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Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Arabia Books and the first translated arabic detective novel by Abdelilah Hamdouchi out this November for just £7.99

November 12, 2008

by Suzan Abrams


It used to be that The Final Bet, a modern Arabic detective novel - or better still, a 150-page mystery novella - first written by Moroccan novelist and screenwriter, *Abdelilah Hamdouchi in 2001 and today, billed as the Arab world's pioneer thriller to have been translated into English; was published earlier this year by the American University of Cairo Press and priced at a steep £13.50.

But the fascinating new London-based publishing house a leading publisher of Arabic-English translations, Arabia Books, founded by Haus Publishing London - a specialist in quality non-fiction - and one which works closely with Cairo Press and who acts as distributors for the UK and Commonwealth territories, has just republished the translated version of The Final Bet last October 27. You can now purchase a hardback copy for just £7.99.

I for one, am about to place my order with Waterstones.

In fact, I'm over the moon to have stumbled onto Arabia Books with their glorious collection of translated Arabic literature stretching from the faraway sands, exotic bazaars and sleepy hamlets of Libya, Algeria and Damascus to rural traditional heartlands closer home like Iraq Beirut and Egypt.

I feel celebratory about such romantic publishing innovations and would like to read a lot more literature from Arabia books to interpret my own philosophies of the Middle-East and to develop my understanding of a people I have always found to be sensual, mysterious and beautiful.

Both Haus Publishing and Arabia Books feature a colourful assortment of translated literary fiction and non-fiction works from Arab writers on their homegrounds or experts who have tasted and lived quite elegantly, the cultures they write of.

This is the place to go if you can't make always make sense of a complex media when it comes to Middle-Eastern affairs and if you want to understand Arab culture, taste the pulse of its eloquent prose and lose yourself in the rich myriad web of storytelling sagas.

The whole concept of specialising in translated Arab fiction for the West also suggests another important point for instrospection as opposed to Arab writers in the diaspora, writing contemporary English fiction in the West, that currently makes for the majority of publicised commercial fare.

In fact Haus Publishing will soon open the doors to the...

bookHaus Showroom which will stock a complete series of titles advertised on the catalogues of Haus and Arabia Books.
Address: The bookHaus, 70, Cadogan Place, off Sloane Street, London, SW1X 9AH, England.
Tel: +44 (0)207 838 9055
How to get there: 2 minutes from Sloane Square Underground Tube Station.
Opening Hours Will Be: 9.30am to 5pm (Monday through Saturday).


Meanwhile, The Final Bet translated into English by Jonathan Smolin, comes nicely packaged with an intriguing murder mystery or most of all a resident experienced sleuth called Allal ben Alawaam or otherwise known as Alwaar, meaning rough guy in the Arabic language. Alwaar chain-smokes, places bets on horses for amusement and where he could have been easily drawn up as cantankerous, has instead been described by readers as fairly pleasant.

Alwaar sets out to solve a crime to prove the supposed guilty husband innocent. Othman, the young, handsome Moroccan toy-boy and husband of a wealthy French dowager, Sofia, 40 years his senior, returns home to find her cruelly murdered in her bedroom. Of course, Othman has played his cards close to his chest, hanging on only for the lavish lifesytle and seeking solace in a steamy affair with an aerobics instructor, Naeema. The police zero in on Othman. Did he do it or was he framed through circumstances by an over-zealous police force?

*Abdelilah Hamdouchi who lives in Rabat, Morocco has written eight novels and is also an award-winning screenwriter for Moroccan television and cinema. The Final Bet has been produced for Moroccan television.

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