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Our autumn programme of Book Club events started on 7 October when we met virtually on Zoom. with book-lovers joining the meeting from a number of different countries. The book under discussion was Mama Hissa's Mice by Kuwaiti author Saud Alsanousi, translated by Sawad Hussain. Both Saud Alsanousi and Sawad Hussain joined us. Most of the meeting provided a chance to ask the author questions, and Saud was happy to speak about all aspects of writing the book. He was ably translated by Jonathan Wright. It proved the largest audience we have had at a book club, and Mama Hissa's Mice proved a popular and well-liked book.
Mama Hissa’s Mice is set in a near-future Kuwait that has succumbed to sectarian violence and chaos. The events take place from the 1979 Iranian Revolution, through the Iran-Iraq war and the Iraq-Kuwait war, and ending with an imaginary civil war in Kuwait, in 2020. It follows the lives of three boys who are neighbours, but from different ethnic origins and religious denominations. One of them, the narrator, tells the story of their friendship and living side by side in the three houses in their old street, and how this story ends horribly 42 years later because of sectarian differences which lead to civil war. The novel's main events are punctuated by stories of love and friendship which bring the heroes of the story together despite their religious differences.
You can read more about Mama Hissa's Mice here and here.
And more about Saud's writings here
If you would like to join the discussion on 7th October, please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. You will then receive an email nearer the date, containing instructions on how to join the Zoom meeting.
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Saud Alsanousi with his award-winning novel The Bamboo Stalk, translated by Jonathan Wright. Photo © Kheridine Mabrouk