Celestial Bodies by its Omani author Jokha Al Harthy, after 9 years of winning the best Omani Novel, has been longlisted for the 2019 Man Booker International Prize. The novel set in Al Awabi village in Oman and it covers Oman from “a traditional, slave-owning society slowly redefining itself after the colonial era, to the crossroads of its complex present.”
“Elegantly structured and taut, Celestial Bodies is a coiled spring of a novel, telling of Oman’s coming-of-age through the prism of one family’s losses and loves. The novel explores the lives of three sisters as they witness Oman slowly redefining itself from a traditional, slave-owning society, to its complex present state, where social mores parley with aspiration, technology, and oil money.” Sand Stone Press.
Here are some reviews of the Celestial Bodies:
“As always when reading a book for Read Around the World Book club, the journey is often interesting even if the destination can be a bit hit and miss. This month, we traveled to Oman with this recent release (by a small Scottish Press no less). I knew nothing about Oman and the fact that I googled things like "slavery" was an eye opener, it is shocking. I also loved learning about the traditions and how Western influences start to re-shape their society. Interesting as well as to what gets absorbed and what not” says Melanie.
“An interesting choice by the judges, a book whose strengths lie in its deep cultural insights and clever construction. Celestial Bodies has been translated by Marilyn Booth from Sayyidat al-Qamar (literal translation: Ladies of the Moon), the 2nd novel by Omani novelist and UK-based academic Jokha Alharthi. Based on the story of two Omani families, brought together by marriage, and a lengthy cast of surrounding characters (the family trees at the start is invaluable to the reader) it gives both directly, by its impact on the characters, and by the analogy of their changing lives, a fascinating insight into the history and modernization of Oman over four generations, across the 20th Century and into the early 21st,” says Paul Fulcher.
To know more about Jokha, please visit this link: http://jokha.com/