8 May 2011 2 Comments

The Reverse Orientalist: Kamal Abdel-Malek’s Writing Life Interview

When Kamal Abdel-Malek was a young student, he chose to study outside the Arab world, eventually becoming a professor at Brown and Princeton Universities in the US. It was the first step in the physical and intellectual journeys of this intriguing Egyptian writer. Born in Alexandria and now a teacher of Arabic literature at the […]

20 June 2010 4 Comments

How to keep up on the Middle East

JERUSALEM — Time was anyone with an interest in the Middle East could be guaranteed a couple of books a year would be brought out by U.S. journalists based in the region. Now many of those correspondents are history, with news bureaus closing and those that remain cutting back. The new books written by Americans […]

2 April 2010 0 Comments

An Islamic Romeo and Juliet

Since 9/11, journalists and writers have tried to understand the extremists committed to the destruction of the West and, often, that of their own societies in the Middle East. Writers have mostly done this by “going inside” the world of those extremists, giving us the inner life of suicide bombers or of the “American Taliban.” […]

24 February 2010 0 Comments

Inventing the Palestinian detective

The dead man’s mother raged and cried as she told me how she’d discovered her son’s body, in the cabbage patch outside her home. She’d gone down on her knees, she said, touched his blood and wiped her fingers on her face and called out that God is most great. As the winter wind came […]

14 February 2010 0 Comments

The Daily Beast and The New York Times

My new Palestinian crime novel THE FOURTH ASSASSIN is one of five “This Week’s Hot Reads” on The Daily Beast, which also happens to be the hot read of the web these days. The Beast writes of the book and its Brooklyn setting: “Rees paints a meticulous portrait of the post-9/11 community of Little Palestine […]

1 February 2010 2 Comments

Bringing the Mideast to America

Often a novelist can humanize foreign affairs in ways a journalist can’t. To mark publication today of my new Palestinian crime novel The Fourth Assassin, I posted this for my regular column on GlobalPost. Though we do so at our peril, overseas events are easy to ignore. We flip past the foreign pages of the […]

8 January 2010 3 Comments

A Decade that Dare not Speak its Name

In the documentary “Imagine,” John Lennon comments that his song “Starting Over” was a message to fans his own age in which he aimed to ask them: “Hey, how’re you? Weren’t the Seventies a drag? Let’s hope the Eighties will be better.” If John had lived on through the Eighties to experience the decade just […]