Dancing Arabs by Sayed Kashua, Miriam Shlesinger

By Sayed Kashua, Miriam Shlesinger

A narrative born out of the tensions among Jewish and Arab Israelis, the debut novel by means of twenty-eight-year-old Arab-Israeli Sayed Kashua has been praised around the globe for its honesty, irony, humor, and its uniquely human portrayal of a tender guy who strikes among societies, changing into a stranger to both.

Kashua’s anonymous antihero has massive footwear to fill, having grown up with the parable of a grandfather who died combating the Zionists in 1948, and with a father who was once jailed for blowing up a college cafeteria within the identify of freedom. while he's granted a scholarship to an elite Jewish boarding college, his kinfolk rejoices, dreaming that he'll develop as much as be the 1st Arab to construct an atom bomb. yet to their dismay, he seems to be a coward without any nationwide delight; his merely ambition is to slot in along with his Jewish friends who reject him. he alters his outfits, his accessory, his consuming conduct, and turns into a professional at faking identities, sliding among assorted cultures, various colleges, diverse languages, and at last a Jewish lover and an Arab wife.

With clean candor and self-deprecating wit, Kashua brings us a protagonist whose maximum accomplishment is his skill to vanish. In a land the place own and nationwide identities are synonymous, Dancing Arabs brilliantly maps one man’s fight to disentangle the 2, simply to tragically and unavoidably forfeit either.

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Example text

Another lesson was starting, but I was not going to run straight back this time. Let them mark me absent. I’d say I had a stomachache. They’d believe me because I’m a good student. I forgot about the bell and focused on the suitcase. Up on the chair I could reach it much more easily. I mustered all my strength before lifting it, but the suitcase was much lighter than I’d imagined. For some reason, I’d expected the death equipment to be heavy. I put the suitcase down on Grandma’s bed and studied its contents.

The only thing that disturbs me is that you did everything you could in order for me to reach the top. I feel sad for every drop of perspiration you shed on my behalf. I know I’ve let you down. The only thing missing in my life now is the opportunity to make it up to you. I don’t know how. In one of the papers that has turned completely yellow, the picture of my father is no more than a blur and I can hardly make it out. They don’t write anything interesting. Just his picture and his name with the caption: A third-year student.

Maybe a few more of those policemen’s outfits, like the ones she brought back to us from Mecca. I pulled the rug off the shelf and spread it out on the spot where Grandma always said her prayers. She would pray sitting down, because by then it was hard for her to kneel for so long. Grandma lives with us. Actually, we live with her. She has her own room, with her own bathroom and a basin for washing her hands before saying her prayers, and she never passes through the living room or the kitchen.

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