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Book Reviews

NASHER'S Review of "Le Faucon"

 “Le Faucon”  Nasher Review

Author: Gilbert Sinoué

Pages: 280 pages

Publishing house: Al-Kamel Verlag

The figure of the UAE’s founder, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, may God rest his soul in peace, has always been inspiring for many writers, poets and authors, from within and outside the Arab world. Hundreds of books focusing on different aspects of his biography were released, recording his glorious deeds, values ​​and principles, including his love for people, his concern for the child and the family, his pursuit of unity and the development of his community, even his wisdom, vision, confidence in his people and his belief in the future of his homeland.

Yet, the Egyptian-born French writer, Gilbert Sinoué, had the lead in producing the first literary work of fiction to deal with the biography of Sheikh Zayed, may God rest his soul, through his book “Le Faucon”, which was published in mid-2020 in French by “Gallimard”, the leading French publishing house. Recently, Al-Kamel Verlag in Beirut and Baghdad released its Arabic edition, translated by Saleh Al-Ashmar, the well-known Lebanese writer and translator.

The book celebrates the personality of Sheikh Zayed the son, father, brother, ruler and poet, by shedding light on many situations, highlighting his presence in the lives of many international personalities, including the British traveler Wilfred Thesiger, the Egyptian-born engineer Abdel Rahman Makhlouf, and the British writer Susan Hilliard.

The “Le Faucon novel sheds light on the most prominent milestones and figures in the history of the UAE, before its establishment, and deals with Sheikh Zayed’s relationship with each of them, especially his brother Sheikh Shakhbut bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the 11th ruler of Abu Dhabi from 1928 to 1966. It also highlights the most prominent development projects in Abu Dhabi and Al-Ain, as well as Sheikh Zayed’s travels to Britain, Pakistan, and India. The book also deals with the emergence of the UAE, and the subsequent events and challenges that the late managed to overcome all with his visionary wisdom, to place his country in the ranks of the most stable, progressive and prosperous countries in the world.


Confessions of a Curious Bookseller: Book Review

Confessions of a Curious Bookseller: Book Review

Author: Elizabeth Green

Pages: 483 pages

Publishing house:  Lake Union Publishing

Publishing date:  January 1, 2021

Bookshops, cats, and secret confessions — what could possibly go wrong!

Confessions of a Curious Bookseller by Elizabeth Green is a story of 50 something-year-old Fawn, a bookshop owner and a cat lover, who tries to save her business from a new bookshop that opened just around the corner.

It is written in the forms of e-mail correspondence, online comments, and a little bit of Fawn’s journaling. A modern epistolary form.

Everything about this book, from title and cover to the overview, grabs the reader’s attention and almost calls out to be read.

Without question, Fawn Birchill knows that her used bookstore is the heart of West Philadelphia, a cornerstone of culture for a community that, for the past twenty years, has found the quirkiness absolutely charming. When an amicable young indie bookseller invades her block, Fawn is convinced that his cushy couches, impressive selection, coffee bar, and knowledgeable staff are a neighbourhood blight. Misguided yet blindly resilient, Fawn readies for battle.

But as she wages her war, Fawn is forced to reflect on a few unavoidable truths: the tribulations of online dating, a strained relationship with her family, and a devoted if not always law-abiding intern–not to mention what to do about a pen pal with whom she hasn’t been entirely honest and the litany of repairs her aging store requires.

Through emails, journal entries, combative online reviews, texts, and tweets, Fawn plans her next move. Now it’s time for her to dig deep and use every trick at her disposal if she’s to reclaim her beloved business–and her life.

The book can not be claimed as a life changing text but it is certainly a light and refreshing read – a much needed distraction from our current climate – while Confessions of a Curious Bookseller will entertain you and make you laugh, its an easy read without complications or difficult plots; the perfect medicine for January blues. Plus the easy format of narration, immediately strikes an engagement with the reader and encourages one to keep on turning the page, and despite the fact that we mostly see events from Fawn’s perspective but others are given a voice too, such as her rival, Mark and her mother, sister, penpal and even her employers. We can’t fully engage with most of the characters due to their short correspondence but the reader does grow to semi-like Fawn and her peculiar ways. In fact as the book progresses we begin to understand Fawn’s peculiar way and appreciate her insecurities that stems from her childhood and the way her father was never open in his feelings towards her.

The book does not fully live up to its title or even book cover but we would certainly recommend Confessions of a Curious Bookseller as a holiday read or a book to pick up that will just offer you a much-needed relief. We will give the book a rating of 3 out of 5, because although it is an enjoyable read its not a novel that will leave a mark on you nor is it likely to be put forward to any literary award.

Confessions of a Curious Bookseller is Elizabeth Green debut novel, she has graduated from the University of the Arts with a BFA in theatre arts and lives outside Philadelphia with her husband and two cats.