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.