March 3, 2024

“The Beaver” by Mohammed Hasan Alwan: A Narrative of Family Disintegration

The Beaver Review

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The novel “The Beaver – [Al-Qundus],” written by Mohammed Hasan Alwan and published by Dar Al-Saqi, revolves around a young man named Ghalib who leaves Riyadh on a tourist trip to Portland, seeking entertainment and hoping to forget his memories in Riyadh. However, unexpected events unfold during his journey.

What if you were a Beaver?

Employing a narrative technique based on flashback storytelling, consisting of 40 chapters and spanning 319 pages, Mohammed Hasan Alwan successfully balances the objective portrayal of the animalistic behavior of the beaver and the human behavior of Ghalib’s family. The family suffers from familial disintegration, impacting the social structure of the family. This disruption creates a rift, the complete opposite of what the beaver, belonging to the rodent family, known for its engineering skill in building dams and houses underwater to protect itself and its family from enemies, does. The young beaver is better off than Ghalib, having grown up in a stable family environment.

“I went to watch the beavers building dams, challenging the river, and caring for their young…”

However, Ghalib’s superficial knowledge of things shatters when the park guard nonchalantly informs him that beavers, while affectionate at times, remain mostly fierce. This prompts him to question why he shouldn’t trust a beaver family in a city without a river.

Logical Self-narration

In “The Beaver,” Alwan uses first-person narrative consciousness to emphasize individual expression. What Ghalib, the novel’s protagonist, experiences may not be universal; not all children of divorce necessarily suffer from the same emotional turmoil, and not all fathers are adept at maintaining control.

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