The Bottom of the Jarby Abdellatif Laâbi
Paperback: $13.60 - 20% off! // eBook: $9.99
Fire. Germination. Birth. Blood. All these themes are burnished and honed image by image until they echo through Abdellatif's book.... Abdellatif Laâbi, as you will see, is a member of the same cell as Dostoevsky, Hikmet, Soyinka, Cervantes...
— Breyten Breytenbach, on Rue du Retour
The great power and subtlety of the work lies in the fine balance it strikes between that Peter Pan–like sensitivity, vulnerability and imagination, and the brutality of the real world, history and politics.
— The Daily Star (Lebanon)
One of the most evocative portraits of Fez that has ever been written ... deserves a wide and attentive readership ... The writer has a fine eye for the telltale details of daily life, for the personality traits of colorful characters, for the labyrinthine urban layout of the town and for the mores of the period ... André Naffis-Sahely’s translation is lively and even, often, joyful.
— The Arts Fuse
Fragments of a Forgotten Genesis also returns us to the shared historical beginnings of poetry and religious text, the shared tools of verse and image... Though religious texts have also been famously open to widely differing interpretations, those interpretations have tended to view themselves as corrective and final. No such finality will be possible here. The richness of imagery and slewing of the narrative in more than one direction work against any such tactic.
— Alistair Noon, Blackbox Manifold
Laâbi's poetic voice consistently raises a song of possibilities above the dirge of cruelty.
— Victor Reinking
That Laâbi recognizes the link between understanding our time and understanding memory is profound, and should serve as an example to other authors.
— Jordan Anderson, The Coffin Factory
As the Arabic saying Laâbi quotes in the book goes: “Fez is a mirror.” In this case it’s a mirror pointed directly at today; at the Arab Spring uprisings; at 9/11, the ‘war on terror’ and the United State’s invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan; and at the conflict between Israel and Palestine. Reflecting how terrorism has shaped world culture, and how, in turn, our world shapes us, The Bottom of the Jar is ultimately testimony to how language can reshape both. When it comes to “raising a song of possibilities above the dirge of cruelty”, Laâbi is still without rival.
— Chimurenga Magazine (Cape Town)
Watch Abdellatif Laâbi and his translator, André Naffis-Sahely, read at the Free Word Centre in London.
Read an interview with author Abdellatif Laâbi in the Quarterly Conversation.