The great Arabic writer Abdelrahman Munif (more here) died in Damascus on January 24 at the untimely age of 71. Had he lived, he might well have gotten the Nobel. I highly recommend Cities of Salt to anyone who wants to understand how Saudi Arabia got where it is today.
Update. Abdul-Rahman Mounif: the Guardian obit, by Abdul-Hadi Jiad. (Via MoorishGirl.)


  1. RIP indeed. I hadn’t heard that he had died; I’m glad that I had his company throughout the marvelous “Cities of Salt” that you recommended to me earlier this year.

  2. I second the praise for Cities of Salt. But were you able to get much out of the sequels? I got bogged down among all the palace intrigue – I think it would’ve helped if I’d had more of a background in Saudi history…

  3. What were the titles of the sequels? Worth it or not?

  4. Variations on Night and Day and The Trench, and I haven’t read them myself yet.

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