Tuner Libros (Madrid and Mexico City) has just published Jadaliyya Co-Founder/Co-Editor Sinan Antoon’s third novel, Ya Maryam, in a Spanish translation under the title Fragmentos de Bagdad. The novel was translated by Maria Luz Commendador, whose previous translations include Elias Khoury, Jabra Ibrahim Jabra, and Abdelrahman Munif.
The events of the novel take place in a single day, with two contradictory visions of life from two characters from an Iraqi Christian family, drawn together by the situation in the country under the same roof in Baghdad. Youssef is an elderly man who is alone. He refuses to emigrate and leave the house he built and where he has lived for half a century. He still clings to hope and memories of a happy past. Maha is a young woman whose life has been torn apart by sectarian violence. Her family has been displaced and she has become a refugee in her own country, lodging in Youssef`s house with her husband as she waits to emigrate from a country she no longer feels is a homeland. Hope collides with destiny when an event occurs which changes the life of the two characters forever. The novel raises bold and difficult questions about the situation of minorities in Iraq, with one character searching for an Iraq that was, while the other attempts to escape the Iraq that is.
Ya Maryam was published in Arabic 2012 by Dar al-Jamal (Beirut & Baghdad) and was widely acclaimed in Iraq and the Arab world. It was shortlisted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction. You can download the first chapter from the Spanish translation here and read a chapter from the original Arabic here. You can order the book here.