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About the Author: Hanan Al-Shaykh

is a Lebanese journalist, novelist, short story writer, and playwright.Al Shaykh was born into a conservative Shia Muslim family She received her primary education in Beirut, and later she attended the American College for Girls in Cairo Al Shaykh began her journalism career in Egypt before returning to Lebanon She has also lived in Saudi Arabia and is currently residing in London.Her short stories and novels feature primarily female characters in the face of conservative religious traditions set against the backdrop of political tensions and instability of the Lebanese civil war.



10 thoughts on “I Sweep the Sun Off Rooftops

  1. says:

    I had high hopes for this book of short stories based in Lebanon and started reading with some of those hopes fulfilled Gradually I found a certain sameness creeping in, primarily of writing style and tone, negativity toward most others in whichever protagonists life and constant wistfulness, dreaminess Perhaps this comes of living in a war zone This would not account for the style itself which sometimes seems to bludgeon the reader with its words.There were a few stories I liked, primarily The Spirit is Engaged Now You May Want to Hold Others such as The Land of Dreams just didn t seem to have substance, seemed to be completely unreal, beyond any possible meaning of the title I could come up with.I didn t finish all stories, but read 2 3rds of the book, and feel that was enough to make a meaningful review of this book.


  2. says:

    This book portrays the lives of women in the modern arab world Each chapter talks about a different family in a different country jumping from Lebanon, to Egypt, to Yemen, and so on The events happening in the chapters, wherever they are in the Middle East, are very realistic, and could happen to anybody at any time The fact that the main characters are women in each chapter, shows the significance of the roll women play in the Arab World Feminism and a woman s needs are recognised, and contributed to by the plot of the story the chapter tells Whenever a man appears, he is acting the same way I see, or hear of, the way husbands and brothers act in the real world This novel certainly has opened my eyes about my culture as an Arab woman and has taught me many things I didn t know about from before Truely a masterpiece.


  3. says:

    Some of these short stories were very engaging, for instance the Marriage Fair , The Land of Dreams and The Funfair Others were less so, with story lines that didn t appeal to me, most notably A Season of Madness and the story from which the book gets its title I Sweep the Sun off Rooftops There were some interesting insights into different cultures and I m glad I persevered with the collection.


  4. says:

    The one story that stood out from all of the other stories in this book was Apple An absolutely heartbreaking and beautiful story of a girl who never receives a suitor and instead is faced with the social stigma of being an old maid in her village.


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  7. says:

    I enjoyed this collection of stories and in particular A Girl Called Apple I found really touching and thought provoking It raises issues of culture in an isolated village and rituals practised to invite suitors for daughters of marriagable age Apple s family is portrayed as loving and kind, even when they can t quite fathom why she is so resistant to marriage Neither can Apple It was the most memorable in this admirable collection.The stories are insightful portraying various issues surrounding women in a culture so very different from western experience Interestingly it s focus on the lives of women doesn t preclude insight into life for men in middle eastern culture It s worth reading not only as a wonderfully realised literary work, but also to understand lifestyles of another culture that is so very topical at present.


  8. says:

    I picked up this book from the local library just because I was intrigued by the name of the author Yes, sometimes I do pick up books just because the author has an exotic name It helps me to expose myself to different perspectives and different cultures that I have never been exposed to And so teh Arab name really attracted me I sweep the sun off rooftops is a collection of short stories by the Lebanese female author Dealing with sexuality, feminism and stereotyped Arab women the characters are quite nuanced and worth giving a thought Overall, not a bad read at all but nothing extraordinary either.And my favorite story in the collection is I Sweep The Sun Off Rooftops by the way


  9. says:

    This one grew on me as I read through it it s another one worth reading twice It s nice to read a different kind of book from time to time.


  10. says:

    Nearly every story is this collection is a gem, and the writing is exceptionally terse and powerful Young children on an Oil compound in the middle east are horrified to learn that their Indian servants have been cooking their pet rabbits, their distress calling into question the treatment of servants and the self serving naivete of children A woman moves from Morocco to London and learns the humiliations of freedom Another woman wants to get a divorce but cannot ask for one, so she feigns insanity, which further traps her in her marriage And my favorite story, The Land of Dreams beautifully portrays the impossible reconciliations of culture between the west and east, when a Denmark missionary is proposed to by a Yemeni man I love the sensations this book provoked of austerity and sensuality, of intense focus and vague alienation, very excellent.


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