Wolves of the Crescent Moon

Publishing House: Penguin Books

Publication Year: 2007

Genre: Novel

Number of Pages: 180

“Wolves of the Crescent Moon,” written by Saudi Arabian author Yousef Al-Mohaimeed, has been lauded as “the first great Saudi novel” by The New York Sun. Despite being banned in Saudi Arabia, the Washington Post recognized Al-Mohaimeed’s courage in addressing controversial issues in the Arab world. With a narrative style reminiscent of Gabriel García Márquez’s lush storytelling.

Set in Riyadh, the story unfolds in a bus station, where the protagonist, Turad, stumbles upon a file containing reports about an abandoned baby. This discovery prompts him to reconstruct the fragmented life detailed in the file. The narrative weaves together the lives of three marginalized individuals: a Bedouin, an orphan, and a eunuch. All linked by fate and struggling to survive in a predatory city.

The novel progresses through one feverish night. Revealing the intertwined destinies of these characters against the backdrop of a deeply traditional society grappling with modernity. “Wolves of the Crescent Moon” is a powerful exploration of control and the human condition. Its narrative known by overlapping stories and a narrative style that draws from oral traditions.

The novel paints a vivid picture of Riyadh and its inhabitants. Highlighting the contrasts between melancholy and opulence, tribalism and modernization. The story moves from desert sands to city streets and grand palaces. Presenting a tapestry of fairy tales, dreams, and harsh realities. It portrays the disenfranchised individuals of the city with haunting lyricism. Making it an unforgettable read and marking Al-Mohaimeed as a significant voice in world literature.

“Wolves of the Crescent Moon” received critical acclaim for its portrayal of the marginalized underclass of Riyadh. Dealing with themes such as servitude, societal constraints, and the humiliations faced in the struggle for dignity. The novel ends with a new dawn, bringing wonder and admiration for the resilience of its characters.

The author, Yousef Al-Mohaimeed, was born in Riyadh in 1964 and published several novels and short-story collections in Arabic. This book, his first that published outside the Middle East. It also translated into English by Anthony Calderbank and published by Penguin in 2007. Al-Mohaimeed’s novel is a profound commentary on the unseen aspects of Saudi society. Offering insight into the lives of people who exist on the fringes of a world often perceived as wealthy and pain-free.

Read More About Yousef Al-Mohaimeed

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