“Azazeel” de Youssef Ziedan
Set in the 5th century AD, Azazeelis the exquisitely crafted tale of a Coptic monk’s journey from Upper Egypt to Alexandria and then Syria during a time of massive upheaval in the early church. The monk, Hepa, embarks on a journey both physical and spiritual, encountering the devil, Azazeel, and the hardship of severe temptation. At times able to resist, while at others bending to the strengths of his desire, Hepa learns that physical pleasure and spiritual enlightenment can be two sides of the same coin.
Winner of the Arab Booker Prize, Azazeel highlights how the history of our civilization has been warped by greed and avarice since its very beginnings and how one man’s beliefs are challenged not only by the malice of the devil, but by the corruption with the early church. In sparse and often sparkling prose that reflects the arid beauty of the Syrian landscape, Azazeel is a novel that forces us to re-think many of our long-held beliefs and invites us to rediscover a lost history.
Meanwhile, autumn brings us Alif the Unseen, by G. Willow Wilson, which is pitched as Lost-meets-Buffy with a bit of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo thrown into the mix, in the United Arab Emirates and involves an ancient book of dark magic, a love story, and adventures in cyberspace. I have just begun reading an early reading copy of this one…and so far, it’s pretty spectacular indeed…
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Azazeel : Youssef Ziedan ; translated into English by Jonathan Wright. — London : Atlantic Books, 2012.
312 p. ; 24 cm.
PJ 7976.I43 A93 2012