February 8, 2024

When the Nation Becomes a Poem in (The Belt) of “Ahmed Abu Dahman”

The Belt Review

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!

Adorning the cover of his novel ‘The Belt’ with a headband of mountain flowers to reinforce his identity, the Saudi novelist Ahmed Abu Dahman explicitly and directly declares his eternal belonging to his village. He forms a record with his words, documenting the history of the village that stood like a sweet palm tree against the fluctuations of the era in general, and against the Ottomans in particular.

Abu Dahman’s novel, published by the French publishing house Gallimard, is the first Arabic author’s novel to be released in French before Arabic. Abu Dahman, keen on his identity as on his village, took responsibility for publishing the work in its Arabic version.

‘The Belt’ is distinguished by the linguistic diversity of its characters. The narrative adapts to fit the novel’s structure and the time period it covers. Abu Dahman draws his descriptions from his environment in the traditional Arabic way, starting with a lament over ruins and smoothly describing the journey. Thus, the village becomes a song echoed by both Bedouins and urbanites, Arabs and non-Arabs. Abu Dahman does not drift towards urbanization and civilization but shoulders the issues of his nation.

“I wrote it in French because I worked as a researcher and journalist, and I saw hatred towards our country in others. I wanted to convey its true image as I found and loved it.”

Already a member, just Login here to continue reading, or Subscribe Today "FOR FREE" and get access to our exclusive digital literary treasures!!

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!