Monday, May 12, 2008

Ghaddar the Ghoul and other Palestinian Stories


GHADDAR THE GHOUL AND OTHER PALESTINIAN STORIES; retold by Sonia Nimr; London: Frances Lincoln, 2007; 95 pgs. Non-fiction (Palestinian literature).
For all who think of Palestinians only in the political context of Middle Eastern troubles, this book will be a welcome surprise. Several of these stories draw on the archetypes from which folk stories of many nations derive: Ghadar the ghoul is a variant of Jack of the beanstalk's giant; "Dancing Jasmine, Singing Water" is reminiscent of "The Fisherman and his Wife." The story of Tanbouri's shoes is a particular delight. These stories would be great for reading aloud, and would acquaint children (and their parents) with a much lovelier side of the Middle East than we are wont to hear.

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