Jabbour Douaihy, a writer leaving the space of his novels


With its regular rhythm, a novel about every four years, it has become easy to pay attention – in the last decade at least – to a special site acquired by the Lebanese writer Jabbour Douaihy (1949 – 2021) in literary map Arabic, just as a table in a café is known as a writer, and Douaihy loved to write in the café.

From “Autumn Equinox” in 1995 to “Poison in the Air,” which was published months ago, the publications of the Lebanese novelist who passed away from our world have continued in the following form: “Raiya al-Nahr” (1998), “Ain Warda” (2002), and June Rain” (2006), “The Homeless” (2010), “The American Quarter” (2014), “Printed in Beirut” (2016), and “The King of India” (2020).

We should also note that Douaihy’s first novels were not published until he was in his mid-forties. It is as if he decided from the beginning to enter the experience of fiction writing only after possessing the tools for its implementation and obtaining sufficient maturity to understand and reproduce the world.

In answer to a question if he was satisfied with what was issued, Douaihy said in an interview with:The New ArabPublished in 2018: “When a person takes enough time, two years or even three and four to complete a novel, and when he repeats and repeats the sentences and syllables that consist of it dozens of times, from where does he have the right to say that he is not satisfied, and who like me began Writing and publishing At an advanced age, in his forties, he does not regret texts from a young age because I did not write them, I began to be mature, so to speak.

This attention to literary works may explain the frequent presence of Jabbour Douaihy’s name in the short lists of various literary prizes, and most importantly, the translators’ interest in his books. In recent years, his works have gone to French, English, German, Italian, Spanish, Turkish and Macedonian.

Also, this presence in other cultures explains Douaihy’s possession of a horizon of knowledge beyond Arab culture, and he is the one who specialized academically in French literature, and completed a doctoral thesis in the field of comparative literature. In addition to his work in literary journalism for years with French institutions.

But Douaihy’s literature did not lose its Lebanese compass, as the proposed imaginary worlds are close to its author, distributed between Beirut and the Lebanese villages, in which petty crimes are attended within a broader historical context, approaching the mysteries of the civil war or going to dissect the Lebanese utopia before that.


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