The Beaver


Publishing House: Dar Al-Saqi

Publication Year: 2011

Genre: Novel

Number of Pages: 319

As Ghalib grapples with his past, “The Beaver” unveils a poignant, transformative odyssey.

Ghalib al-Wajzi, a Saudi man in his forties who finds himself on the shores of the Willamette River in Portland, one day comes face-to-face with a peculiar creature: a flat-tailed mammal whose name he does not know but strikingly reminds him of the people he left behind. Immediately, he is transported back to his family history and personal failures. Born from an unhappy first marriage, Ghalib has always been a stranger to his own family.

His clandestine relationship with Ghada, a woman he could not marry due to social incompatibilities between their families, brings him little solace. Feeling alone and in crisis, he yearns for a fresh start in life, but how? Personal development workshops, fishing therapy, excessive alcohol consumption, not to mention the letters he sends to his barber in Riyadh or a famous talk-show host— Ghalib tries it all, albeit chaotically.

Ghalib’s Odyssey with The Beaver

A family drama, a cruel and whimsical tale about a midlife crisis, and a narrative about immigration, “The Beaver” joyously unravels the complexities of Saudi society and suggests that, ultimately, zoology may be one of the quickest ways to understand humanity.

As Ghalib stumbles through his chaotic journey, the novel weaves a tapestry of cultural exploration, inviting readers to understand the intricacies of Saudi society and the challenges faced by those who straddle multiple worlds. The beaver, with its peculiar characteristics, becomes a silent observer of Ghalib’s odyssey, offering a unique perspective on the human condition.

In the end, “The Beaver” stands as a literary exploration of one man’s quest for identity, love, and redemption. Ghalib’s journey, filled with missteps and unexpected discoveries, unfolds against the backdrop of cultural complexities, making the novel a compelling tale of self-discovery and the universal quest for meaning during chaos.

Read More About Mohammed Hasan Alwan

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