17 May 2011 0 Comments

Inspiration–and laughter–for the ladies: Ghada Abdel Aal’s Writing Life

When she was in her early twenties, Egyptian writer Ghada Abdel Aal began the complicated process of seeking a spouse. It involved meetings in parental living rooms over awkward glasses of tea. On one such occasion her potential groom spent his time screaming at a soccer game on tv. Another turned out to have a […]

2 April 2011 20 Comments

Married to Mohammad:Marguerite van Geldermalsen’s Writing Life interview

In the southern desert of Jordan, the ancient Nabateans carved their city, Petra, out of the red-rose rock. Later the caves were home to tribes of Bedouin. And to a young backpacker from New Zealand who fell in love with a Bedouin man. Marguerite van Geldermalsen met Mohammad in the late-Seventies and for the initial […]

9 January 2011 0 Comments

Into the heart of Hezbollah

The liberal Israeli newspaper published my review of two new books on Lebanon (one’s on Hezbollah, the other is a broader history) in its weekend edition: Hezbollah is often portrayed in the West as a caricature of implacable Islamic terrorism. Lebanon also has become something of a stereotype, its name now synonymous with any process […]

1 August 2010 1 Comment

With democracy like this, who needs dictators?

JERUSALEM — Israelis like to point out that theirs is the only democracy in a Middle East otherwise dominated by repressive regimes. Given the performance of legislators in the parliamentary session that just ended here, you might be forgiven for asking: with democracy like this, who needs dictators? The Knesset, Israel’s parliament, broke up last […]

6 April 2010 0 Comments

The war Israelis and Palestinians plan

I posted this on Global Post. JERUSALEM — There’s an old Arab aphorism: “A man with a plan takes action; a man with two plans gets confused.” Apply that to the Israelis and to the Palestinians, and the nonsensical sequence of recent events in the Middle East starts to fall into a comprehensible pattern. It’s […]

11 March 2010 10 Comments

Why I love clogged Arab toilets better than Amazon Kindles

As I travel the Middle East to research my Palestinian crime novels, I love to come upon a stinking squatting-toilet, its evacuation hole bubbling with dark, sinister turds and the air strong with the scent of barely digested, unhygienically prepared lamb kebab. I adore such a khazi on sight, because no one cleaned it up […]

26 February 2010 0 Comments

New York Times Book Review: THE FOURTH ASSASSIN ‘engrossing,’ ‘New Yorkers will be startled’

New Yorkers tend to have a “seen it all” attitude to life. It’s not surprising, given the madhouse that is the Big Apple. But I’ve now officially done something that’ll shock them. In The New York Times Book Review’s crime fiction roundup by Marilyn Stasio, my new novel THE FOURTH ASSASSIN is called “engrossing.” It’s […]

14 January 2010 0 Comments

Guardian: Top 10 Arab-world novels

The Guardian asked me to contribute to their regular feature in which authors pick their top 10 novels on a particular subject. Read my top 10 novels set in the Arab world here. Most of the writers I picked are Arab, though there are a couple of Westerners and Tariq Ali is a Pakistani. This, […]