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Anansi Fall 2020

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I Am Ariel Sharon
By (author): Yara El-Ghadban Translated by: Wayne Grady
9781487007973 Paperback, Trade, Flaps English General Trade FICTION / Literary Nov 17, 2020
$22.95 CAD
Active 5.25 x 8 x 0.45 in | 0.46 lb 104 pages House of Anansi Press Inc Arachnide Editions

A bold and innovative novel, I Am Ariel Sharon dives into the tortured mind of the controversial Israeli prime minister as he lies comatose and faces an ultimate reckoning.

Award-winning Palestinian Canadian novelist Yara El-Ghadban imagines the confrontation at death’s door between Ariel Sharon, the “King of Israel,” and the women closest to him — his mother, his wives, and the mysterious nurse Rita. Like latter-day Greek furies, they lament the brutality of his life and maltreatment of the Palestinian people and demand he face up to his part in the bloodshed of Israel’s wars.

Here is an extraordinary, magical, and impassioned story of nearly impossible empathy, the singular work of a novelist in full flight.

Palestinian Quebecker YARA EL-GHADBAN is an anthropologist by training but has been writing since she was thirteen. She is the author of three novels, of which I Am Ariel Sharon is the first to be translated into English. In 2017 she won the Canada Council for the Arts’ Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award, and in 2019 she was awarded the Blue Metropolis Literary Diversity Prize. She lives and writes in Montreal.

WAYNE GRADY is an award-winning author, translator, and editor. He has won the John Glassco Translation Prize and the Governor General’s Literary Award for Translation and was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award two additional times. His debut novel, Emancipation Day, won the First Novel Award. He lives near Kingston, Ontario, with his wife, novelist Merilyn Simonds.


Winner, Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award


“Yara El-Ghadban, like any good novelist, is on the side of everyone who’s suffering, so all her characters feel real, contradictory, flawed, and alive. Now her crystalline French has been deftly and beautifully rendered into English by Wayne Grady: ‘I’m a grain of salt on the tongue of the earth. I dissolve in the mouths of the mountains of Sinai.’ This is a richly imagined, vitally important book.” — Steven Heighton, Governor General’s Literary Award–winning author of The Waking Comes Late

“By remaining in the liminal space of coma, I Am Ariel Sharon avoids partisan and political blind spots and addresses the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from a perspective that history and analysis all-too-often tend to exclude: the humanity of a man, with all the horror and the light it encompasses. Here resides the great intelligence of Yara El-Ghadban’s book, which, taking up and going beyond Spinoza’s famous formula, reaffirms that literature can at once laugh, cry, hate, and understand.” — Lettres québécoises

“Yara El-Ghadban paints a picture of a country devastated by an ethical shortcoming that affects everyone, Palestinians and Israelis. Through this chorus of female voices and through the character of a nurse who reads to the patient, she calls for wisdom.” — TelQuel

“[Yara El-Ghadban’s] prose forces us to look anew. Readers accustomed to the repetitive stories of textbooks and the media will be transported into the eye of the hurricane and enveloped in the close proximity and conflagration of war … and carried away by a pen that combines history and feeling with extraordinary panache. Don’t wait. Read this book now.” — Le Journal des Alternatives

“One can only bow before the sensibility and striving for objectivity of someone who writes with extraordinary fluidity and who the stage would do well to discover.” — Le Devoir

“Yara El-Ghadban proposes an alternative worldview that is feminine, poetic, and humanist, surpassing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and reminding us of this fundamental truth: no one is human who denies the human in another.” — Lettres québécoises

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