A very interesting historical fiction, focusing on the Jasmine Revolution of the Gulf Peninsula.
|Book: Al Arabian Novel Factory||Author: Benyamin||Language: Malayalam( English translation available)||Genre: Historical Fiction|
Al Arabian Novel Factory by Benyamin is the twin novel of Jasmine Days, the JCB Award Winning book of the same author. Prathap, a journalist, arrives in an Arabian city for a strange novel project along with three of his colleagues. Although the city is unnamed in this book, it is described as a place between Saudi Arabia and Iran. This book is a collection of different experiences of different kinds of people from this tumultuous Arab city through the point-of-view of Prathap, focusing on the events of the Jasmine revolution.
Something that fascinated me is the description of how a city is so different when viewed from the surface and the astonishing details we get when one delves deeper. How a city can transform people and vice-versa.
Though the book is quite lengthy and includes many historical and geographical references, I never quite felt bored or overwhelmed by all the details; because it was narrated skillfully, with a strong yet lucid style of writing.
Prathap’s search for Jasmine, his lost lover (the love which he describes as “love that got etched on my bonemarrow”), was so properly blended with the plot, making the book a real page-turner. The characters in it were unique, very realistic, and kept me wondering more about them.
There is a banned novel mentioned in this book, which plays a major role in the events of the story and puts the characters through a lot of trouble. This is the twin novel of this book. It seems like this book is a very long preface to it Jasmine Days.
We can see that the book is well-researched: details gathered from historical events, Islamic texts, and anecdotes of people from the Arab countries.
Anyone who read Benyamin’s Aadujeevitham(Goat Days) would be familiar with his heart-touching characters and intense emotions that he portrays through his lucid writing style. He brings out the bitterness and harsh realities very frankly. There is a certain simplicity that captured me, yet the seriousness of the theme wasn’t lost. That is why I think Benyamin is a writer who writes for everyone.
I have understood that historical fiction is a genre that really pleases my reading buds and I would like to read more in the future.
If you are interested in historical fiction or want to read about Arab countries, without a biased point-of-view, I would recommend this to you!
N. B: Did you notice the cover page of the book? Malayalam books don’t usually have quotes from reviews (eg: “New York Times best-selling…” bla bla…) which tries to sell the book. It has no extra decorations, I should say, with just the cover picture, title of the book, publisher, and author name. This is the ideal format of a book cover, I think. What do you think?