Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi
Winner of the 2019 Man Booker International Prize
Celestial Bodies has been translated by Marilyn Booth from Sayyidat al-Qamar (literal translation: Ladies of the Moon), the 2nd novel by Omani novelist and UK-based academic Jokha Alharthi.
Based on the story of two Omani families, brought together by marriage, and a lengthy cast of surrounding characters (the family trees at the start is invaluable to the reader) it gives both, by its impact on the characters, and by the analogy of their changing lives, a fascinating insight into the history and modernization of Oman over four generations, across the 20th Century and into the early 21st.
The book is written in over 60 short, almost flash, chapters and the narration alternates between the first-person narration by one character, Abdallah, and a more conventional third-person omniscient narrator who tells the story from the perspective of a number of the other characters.
A Kirkus Reviews “Best Book of the Year in Fiction”
The Week, 1 of 25 Books to “Read in the Second Half of the Year”
Publishers Weekly, One of the “Big Indie Books of the Season”
Time, 1 of 15 “New Books You Should Read This Month”
The Washington Post, 1 of 18 “Books to Read This Season”