Short Rambings: Death is Hard Work; a novel

This morning I finished yet another great novel. The book was written in Arabic by the Syrian novelist Khaled Khalifa. The book is reminiscence of William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying, one of my favorite American classical novels. However, Death is Hard Work takes place in war-torn Syria rather than rural Mississippi. It takes you inside the Syrian civil war in a graphic way. It is about a family’s long and hard journey to bury their father. It is beautifully written, however, I believe the original Arabic would carry more of the writer’s poetic word smithery.

I used to speak and read rustic Arabic. I can now just enough to recognize some places (as I read the book in English) what the Arabic probably said. For example, the title doesn’t really translate to English very well. A more precise translation of (الموت عمل شاق) would be something along the lines of (Death takes a lot of Effort). Even that doesn’t do it justice.

But I would give it 5 stars in beauty about a ugly and morbid topic.


Published by J. Michael Jones

J. Michael Jones is married to Denise and is the father of five successful adult children, scattered around Washington state and Minnesota. He had a 38-year career as a physician associate, until he was forced into retirement by multiple myeloma in 2019. During his career, he waw a headache specialist at Mayo Clinic, and in the pacific northwest, and worked as a generalist in a variety of locations overseas, including Abu Dhabi, Oman, Cyprus, Egypt, Pakistan twice, Nepal, and Afghanistan's Khyber Pass. He has always loved to think and write, publishing seven books and countless journal articles. After retirement he has focused on his fiction writing including his coming book, The Stones of Yemen.

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