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The Secret Life of Saeed the Pessoptimist

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Home » Books » Fiction & Literature » Literary Criticsm » African

The Secret Life of Saeed the Pessoptimist

By Imil Habibi, Salma Jayyusi (Translated by), Trevor Le Gassick (Translated by)

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Format: Paperback, 234 pages
Published In: United Kingdom, 30 September 2010
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Purposefully imitating Voltaire's classic Candide, another dark comedy which derives its humour from life's tragedies, Habiby's The Secret of Saeed the Pessoptimist is a classic of Arab literature. The story of Saeed, a Palestinian who becomes a citizen of Israel, is a story of fact and fantasy, tragedy and comedy. At once a comic hero and luckless fool, his life is full of terror, aggression, resistence and heroism. As an informer for the Zionist state, Saeed's stupidity, candour and cowardice make him more the victim than a villain; but in a series of tragicomic episodes, blundering from disaster to disaster, he is slowly transformed from gullible collaborator into a Palestinian intent on survival. The novel, informed by the author's own experience in Israeli politics, is both biting and funny. The Secret Life of Saeed the Pessoptimist was named in the top ten novels set in the Arab world by The Guardian in 2010, won the Al-Quds Prize in Palestine in 1992 and The Israel Prize for Literature, awarded by the State of Israel. It is the only novel to have the top literary award in both countries.

About the Author

Emile Habiby was a Palestinian-Israeli writer and politician. He decided to stay in Israel after the Arab-Israeli war in 1948 and founded the Israeli Communist Party.

Reviews

Amazing story from a most unconventional perspective. An entertaining and thought-provoking classic.A" Kirkus Review

EAN: 9781906697266
ISBN: 1906697264
Publisher: Arabia Books Ltd
Dimensions: 19 x 12.5 x 2 centimetres (0.11 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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