#YMERC2020 January Part 2

Ahlan wa sahlan!

Thank you for joining in with me in the Year of the Middle Eastern Reading Challenge (YMERC)!

As promised, I will begin each month with:

  • A book or two by a Middle Eastern author
  • A graphic novel by a Middle Eastern author and/or Middle Eastern illustrator
  • A new Arabic song to listen to throughout the month

At the end of each month, I’ll post:

  • My reviews on the books and graphic novels of the month
  • A Middle Eastern movie or TV show that I enjoyed that month

To recap this month:

  • The book of the month was Married to a Bedouin by Marguerite van Geldermalsen. A New Zealand woman travels to Petra, Jordan on a trip with a girlfriend and ends up falling in love with a Bedouin man living in a cave there. True story. Read my review here.
  • The graphic novel of the month was The Apartment in Bab el-Louk by Donia MaherGanzeer Ahmad Nady. A quick but gritty read about living in downtown Cairo during civil unrest. Read my review here!
  • This month’s Arabic song was Nicolas Chalhoub – Sahar Sahar

The Arabic show of this month is: The Writer (al-Kateb), a 2019 series directed by Rami Hanna and written by scriptwriter Rym Hanna.

I absolutely loved watching The Writer (al -Kateb) on Netflix. A great thriller-mystery, where famed author Younis Jebran (Bassel Khayyat) finds himself embroiled in the murder of Tamara (Reem Khoury), a young college student he had romantic affiliations with. He’s released on the basis of lack of evidence by a skilled lawyer (Daniella Rahme), but then three other people die, with the murderer no closer to being found. And with slight tensions with his ex-wife, Dina (Nada Abou Farhat), Jebran has more than one man can handle.

Al-Kateb was produced by the Lebanese company Eagle Films, whose producer called the Syrian actor Bassel Khayyat as the “Monster of the Arab screen.” And he’s right. Born in Damascus, Khayyat was emotional, volatile in all the right ways, and convincing as Younis Jibran, a famed, wealthy, but recently unlucky author whose detective novels are beloved by many around the world.

The show continues on for 30 episodes, but it’s all worth it. The ending has a slight twist, but no matter what you think of it, the story and the plot are great and the acting superb.

The Netflix stream is in the original Lebanese (Levantine) Arabic, which I loved because it’s my family dialect. But for those of you who don’t understand Arabic, the Netflix stream has English and Spanish subtitles.

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