Thursday, December 22, 2011

Top ten stories of reluctant revolutionaries

Selma Dabbagh is a British Palestinian writer of fiction based in London.

Her writing is mainly set in the contemporary Middle East. Recurring themes in her work are idealism (however futile), placelessness, political engagement (or lack thereof) and the impact of social conformity on individuals.

Dabbagh’s first novel, Out of It, is being published by Bloomsbury (UK) this month; the US edition is coming out with Bloomsbury USA in June 2012.

One of her ten favorite "novels depicting private struggles with public commitment," as told to the Guardian:
Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates

No one describes the grind and malice of marriage better than Yates, but what this novel uniquely touches upon is how damaged expectations for involvement in society in a loosely revolutionary sense can be entwined with how a wife views her husband's integrity. There is sexual infidelity in this novel, but that act is of no consequence compared to the betrayal April Wheeler experiences when her husband Frank is reluctant to break out of their comfortable middle-class existence to make a go of it in Paris. Presented as a chatty suburban novel, this novel is as tightly bound as a steel cable.
Read about the other books on the list.

Revolutionary Road also appears on Jenny Eclair's six best books list, Laura Dave's list of books that improve on re-reading, Tad Friend's seven best fiction books about WASPs, and James P. Othmer's list of six great novels on work.

--Marshal Zeringue