Saudi Arabia has changed beyond all recognition in the past few decades, and the country's writers have been pre-eminent in grappling with the dilemmas, the cultural jarring and the identity problems thrown up by such an accelerated pace of change. Beyond The Dunes opens up for the first time the diversity and richness of contemporary Saudi Arabian literature to an English-speaking audience in this uniquely accessible book. Mansour al Hazimi, Salma Khadra Jayyusi and Ezzat Khattab have put together a varied selection of poetry, short stories, novel extracts, personal accounts, drama and essays which provide a fascinating insight into the challenges and tensions of a culture that is striving to balance globalisation and modernity with highly cherished traditional values. The social dislocation experienced by Saudi Arabians finds vivid formal expression in the dramas included in this volume, which may surprise many Western readers with their bold experimentalism and surrealist elements. Novelist Ahmad al Siba'I, a more traditional writer, offers a reflective, humanistic response to the world, whilst poets such as Ghassan al-Khunaizi, Ahmad al Mulla and Huda al Daghfaq reflect both the rich stylistic heritage of Saudi literature and the new techniques and outlook of modern Arabic poetry. Even when they are harking back to the vanished world of pre-modern Saudi Arabia, many of these writers reflect generational dialogues and an awareness of contemporary resonances. Beyond the Dunes places women's voices firmly in the centre of Saudi literary canon for the first time, reflecting the increasing pre-eminence of writers such as Raja' 'Alem, Qumasha al-Ulayyan, Noura al-Ghamidi and Fawziyya Abu Khalid. This ground-breaking book provides an indispensable introduction to the thoughts, forms and expressions of one of the most complex and fascinating of world literatures at a moment of pivotal transformation.
Beyond the Dunes
An Anthology of Modern Saudi Literature