In Riyadh, against the events of the second Gulf War and Saddams invasion of Kuwait, we learn the story of Munirawith the gorgeous eyesand the unspeakable tragedy she suffers as her male nemesis wreaks revenge for an insult to his character and manhood. It is also the tale of many other women of Saudi Arabia who pass through the remand center where Munira works, victims and perpetrators of crimes, characters pained and tormented, trapped in cocoons of silence and fear. Munira records their stories on pieces of paper that she folds up and places in the mysterious bottle given to her long ago by her grandmother, a repository for the stories of the dead, that they might live again. This controversial novel looks at many of the issues that characterize the lives of women in modern Saudi society, including magic and envy, honor and revenge, and the strict moral code that dictates malefemale interaction. Yousef al-Mohaimeed is a rising star in international literature. Muniras Bottle is a rich and skillfully crafted story of a dysfunctional Saudi Arabian family. One of its strengths lies in its edgy characters: Munira, a sultry, self-centered, sexually repressed woman; Ibn al-Dahhal, the bold imposter who deceives and betrays her; and Muhammad, her perpetually angry and righteous brother, a catalyst who forces the events. Western readers will welcome it for its opening door into Arab lives and minds.Annie Proulx Mohaimeed writes in a lush style that evokes a writer he cites as an influence, Gabriel Garcia Marquez. [He] takes on some of the most divisive subjects in the Arab world.
Yousef al-Mohaimeed was born in Riyadh in 1964. He has published several novels and short story collections, and has studied English and photography at Norwich University in the England. He is the author of Wolves of the Crescent Moon (AUC Press, 2007). Anthony Calderbank has translated several works of modern Arabic fiction, including Haggag Hassan Oddoul's Nights of Musk (AUC Press, 2005) and Yousef al-Mohaimeed's Wolves of the Crescent Moon (AUC Press, 2007). He lives and works in Saudi Arabia.