Friday, September 12, 2008

Recommended Book: "Translating Libya: The Modern Libyan Short Story"

Available at Amazon

About the book:

Part anthology and part travelogue, Translating Libya presents the country through the eyes of sixteen Libyan short story writers and one American diplomat. Intrigued by the apparent absence of 'place' in modern Libyan short fiction, Ethan Chorin resolved to track down and translate stories that specifically mention cities and landmarks in Libya. The stories trace the influence of the ancient Romans, the later Italian occupation and the current influx of foreign workers from Africa and further afield. The authors open a window on today's Libya - a rapidly urbanizing country with rich oil reserves, recently renewed diplomatic relations with the West and a nascent tourist industry based on its well-preserved ancient cities. This is a unique introduction to a country that has for some time been 'off the beaten path'.

Review from the Library Journal:

Verdict: An excellent collection of stories as well as an insightful glimpse into what was recently an unknown culture, this is highly recommended for academic and large public libraries.

Background: Until recently, Libya was not well known to the Western world. As part of the first official U.S. Liaison Office in Libya from 2004 to 2006, Chorin explored the country through its short stories. This resulting collection of stories, all translated by Chorin, is part anthology and part travelog; Chorin’s short, contextual essays provide the reader with additional information. For example, in the commentary for "Hotel Vienna," the story of a Muslim man falling in love with a Christian woman, Chorin tells his own story about trying to find the marvelous hotel that inspired this heartbreaking love story. In the process of telling his tale of searching for a potentially fictional place, he illuminates the deep sadness of the story. This anthology ends with a series of short essays that help explain contemporary Libya to a Western audience.—Deborah Hicks, Univ. of Alberta Lib., Edmonton

Author Bio:

Ethan Chorin is a senior fellow in the CSIS Middle East Program. His research focuses on the culture and economics of the Middle East, with a particular focus on Iran, the Arabian Peninsula, and Libya. Before joining CSIS, he was one of a small number of Farsi-speaking Foreign Service Officers posted to the Gulf. Prior to that, he served as a commercial/economic attaché to Libya. Before entering government, he cofounded Ishtirak, a consulting firm focused on Islamic markets and investments. Chorin has been the recipient of Fulbright and Fulbright Hays grants, as well as a Jean Monnet Fellowship to France’s Ecole Polytechnique. He speaks Arabic, Farsi, French, and Hebrew.

Dr. Chorin is the author or principal author of numerous studies on Libya, including the U.S. government’s Doing Business In Libya: A Country Commercial Guide for U.S. Companies (Department of Commerce, 2006), Translating Libya: The Modern Libyan Short Story (Saqi Books, 2008), and an upcoming book chapter on U.S.-Libyan commercial relations. His articles on Middle Eastern literature, Islamic banking, and corporate social responsibility have appeared on the Web sites of Words Without Borders, the Institute for the Future, AMEInfo, and the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies. Dr. Chorin earned a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley, an M.A. from Stanford University, and a B.A. from Yale University.

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