- Abu Dhabi – Tuesday – 12th March 2019 – Shomosn News
: In his debut work of fiction, Palestinian writer Mahmoud Habboush creates a wholly new character in the form of an eccentric boy born who lacks the capacity for feeling — a logical anomaly of a human who doesn’t laugh or cry.
The novel, entitled “The Boy Who Never Laughed”, pays homage to the long tradition of storytelling in the Arabic language from the fables of “One Thousand and One Nights” to the first true Arabic novel “Hayy ibn Yaqzan” by 12th century Andalusian philosopher Ibn Tufail.
“I used the novel as a vehicle for some of my ideas, including the importance of reason in an age where extreme ideologies are casting their dark shadows on the Middle East,” Mr. Habboush said. “The story aims to demonstrate that tolerance, empathy, and even love can be experienced from a purely rational perspective. In my view, such discourse is much needed to confront puritanical and violent ideologies that have taken hold of the minds of many young men and women in the region.”
Written in classical Arabic, the novel follows the life of its main character from his birth to his mid-20’s. The Boy, who is never named in the book, is born in a village on the Palestinian coast, develops an insatiable desire for learning, after becoming an apprentice of a sufi sage and philosopher. At his teacher’s request, the Boy then moves to Aleppo which is ruled by a young emir who favours scholars.
Through a simple plot line, an omniscient narrator relays the Boy’s ideas and musings on different subjects related to religion, human nature and love. These are usually delivered in the form of conversations, inner dialogues or thoughts.
The writer is a Palestinian journalist based in the United Arab Emirates where he has worked over the past decade for international news organisations, covering regional politics before turning his attention in recent years to business and economy. Before writing his novel, most of his creative writing was in the form of short stories, travelogs and some poetry. These are written almost entirely in Arabic and appear on his personal blog.
The book was published by Thaqafa Publishing and Distribution, a sister company of Beirut-based Arab Scientific Publishers. It will be available in bookstores soon and can already be obtained from https://www.neelwafurat.com Or through the publisher directly through the following e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org