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Denys Johnson-Davies reviews Land of No Rain
Land of No Rain by the distinguished Jordanian poet Amjad Nasser brings the poetical talents of a poet into the realm of prose fiction. One is surprised that a writer, who comes to fiction for the first time, should be able to conjure up two different worlds in the one book – the novel is in essence a twofold description of a lifetime that is passed in two completely separate lives.
In the pages devoted to the time spent by the narrator in exile he, by chance, meets up with a former friend who has already made the change by returning to the place which he has always regarded as home and where he has now taken up a job in the local government. This portion of the book deals in a remarkable fashion with the hero’s countless sexual experiences, which he enjoyed in the new culture he has succeeded in penetrating.
On reading the present novel one is unconsciously reminded of the several fictional works by the Sudanese novelist Tayeb Salih, even though the backgrounds and styles of the two writers essentially differ. Nonetheless, any writer coming anew to the artistic landscape of the novel can be sure to benefit from a careful reading of this venture into the field of creative fiction.
The present novel, it should be remembered, was first written in Arabic and has now been rendered into a very readable English translation by the distinguished translator Jonathan Wright.
For Land of No Rain on Amazon.co.uk, click here