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RRP: Price: £8.99
Haus Price: £7.19 Friends of Haus: £6.74
UK & Commonwealth
A Modern Arabic Novel from Libya
By Ibrahim al-Koni
Winner of the 2008 Zayed Creativity Award
Runner-up of the Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation 2009
Rejected by his tribe and hunted by the kin of the man he killed, Ukhayyad and his thoroughbred camel flee across the desolate Tuareg deserts of the Sahara. Between bloody wars against the Italians in the north and famine raging in the south, Ukhayyad rides for the remote rock caves of Jebel Hasawna. There, he says farewell to the mount who has been his companion through thirst, disease, lust and loneliness. Alone in the desert, haunted by the prophetic cave paintings of ancient hunting scenes and the cries of jinn in the night, Ukhayyad awaits the arrival of his pursuers and their insatiable hunger for blood and gold.
Gold Dust is a classic story of the brotherhood between man and beast, the thread of companionship that is all the difference between life and death in the desert. It is a story of the fight to endure in a world of limitless and waterless wastes, and a parable of the struggle to survive in the most dangerous landscape of all: human society.
“A true journey into the human psyche.’
“The desert setting is al-Koni’s strength: its expanse, desolation, and mystery are powerfully evoked.’
Margaret Obank, Banipal
“Al-Koni’s novels are aesthetic renderings of the passions of the desert and of the rich legends and cosmology of his people. An encyclopaedic writer who has digested mythologies of the ancient world and literature of the modern world, al-Koni has both a poetic bent and a mystical
Ferial Ghazoul, Al Ahram Weekly
'Ibrahim al-Koni, a Libyan novelist of Tuareg origins, is a thoroughly original voice in world fiction, and that of Arabic in particular; as such, he needs to be much better known to an English readership. His novels take their readers far into the deserts of Africa, the environment where he himself was raised, and use that environment, its natural features and the animistic beliefs of its more nomadic inhabitants, to create wonderful, magic realist portraits that explore the more elemental instincts and complexes of humanity. In Colla's excellent translation, Gold Dust, the focus is placed on the follies of a single character within the larger tribal group, someone whose love for his much prized Mehri camel leads him to make a series of bad decisions leading to a tragic, indeed unforgettable, conclusion. The almost gnomic style in which al-Koni's novel is couched is admirably conveyed by this English version, allowing the English reader a unique insight into the vision of one of the Arab world's most innovative novelists.'
Roger Allen when presenting the Banipal Prize
The descriptions - whether of the camel's betrayed gaze, the man clinging to his crazed beast as it careers through the sands or the growth of a stealthy plant in the sands - all impress themselves vividly and permanently in your imagination.'
'This translation does justice to the beauties of a story far removed from the experience of English-language readers.' - Marilyn Booth
Click here to read a nice review from The Complete Review.
Ibrahim al-Koni was born in Libya in 1948. A Tuareg who writes in Arabic, he spent his childhood in the desert and learned to read and write Arabic when he was twelve. He studied comparative literature at the Gorky Institute in Moscow and then worked as a journalist in Moscow and Warsaw. His novel Anubis was published by the American University in Cairo Press in 2005, and another novel, The Bleeding of the Stone, has also appeared in English.