What a busy couple of weeks! I’ve been traveling, talking, and teaching almost nonstop. I’m enjoying it tremendously, but I do long for the end of the year, when things will quiet down a bit. In the meantime, I wanted to share my review of a new graphic memoir by Riad Sattouf, a former cartoonist for Charlie Hebdo. Here’s how it closes:
Already a success in France, “The Arab of the Future” will do little to complicate most people’s perceptions of Libya or Syria. Life in both countries seems like a living hell, with no moments of relief or pleasure. But this book also has occasional flashes of beauty. When Abdel-Razak comes across a mulberry tree in Tripoli, the taste of its fruit, like that of Proust’s fabled madeleine, takes him back to the carefree days of his childhood, days when the future was still full of possibility.
You can read the full review in the New York Times Book Review. Let’s see, what else? I will be on the fiction faculty at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in Middlebury, Vermont, next August. Register early! I am judging the PEN/Bellwether Prize, with Kathy Pories and Brando Skyhorse. Rules and eligibility are posted here. And I found out that I’ve been included in a list of the world’s 500 Most influential Muslims. I’ll raise a glass to that!
Photo credit: From The Arab of the Future via The New York Times.