Books

The Dove's Necklace

The Dove's Necklace
Raja Alem
Price: £
12.99
  • Paperback
Published: 
4 May 2017
ISBN: 
9780715651759
Pages: 
480
Genre: 
  • Crime & Thriller
Available from:

The paperback of this stunningly powerful and acclaimed prize-winning novel from a unique voice in Arabic literature.

Mu’az, the photographer’s apprentice, was leaping between two roofs when he froze in mid-air, transfixed by what he saw below. Deep in the cleft between the two houses was the body.

In Mecca’s ‘Lane of Many Heads’ lies the unclothed body of a murdered woman. Nobody claims the victim: her nudity is a source of shame in the Holy City’s strictly conservative culture. When the cholesterol-riddled and sleep-deprived detective Nasser al-Qahtani takes charge of the investigation, he is soon confronted by some of Mecca’s darkest secrets – by its corruption, poverty, misogyny and rampant greed.

Never once shying away from taboos, Raja Alem effortlessly intertwines myth, fantasy and everyday reality to evoke the rich mosaic of Meccan life to tell the story of a civilisation torn between dogmatic conservatism and the desire to modernise. Narrated by several different voices – including two headstrong women and the ‘Lane of Many Heads’ itself – The Dove’s Necklace is a beautiful, powerful novel which challenges false preconceptions of the Arab world, and conjures up a compelling portrait of a city and its people in the throes of change.

Reviews

‘A surreal and meditative take on a murder mystery’ Deborah Smith, Guardian summer reads

‘Masterly crafted and perfectly paced… an intense, nearspiritual experience’ Chicago Review of Books

‘Raja’s Mecca is a place of sincerity and deception, wealth and poverty, architectural beauty and ugliness, whispers of the past and the assault of the future’ Jury of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction

Raja Alem

About Raja Alem

Raja Alem was born in Mecca and now lives in Paris. She has recieved numerous international awards for her novels and her other writing. In 2011 she became the first woman to win the International Prize for Arabic Fiction. 

The Dove's Necklace

The Dove's Necklace
Raja Alem
Price: £
18.99
  • Hardback
Published: 
2 Jun 2016
ISBN: 
9780715645864
Pages: 
544
Genre: 
  • Fiction
Available from:

When a dead woman is discovered in Abu Al Roos, one of Mecca's many alleys, no one will claim the body because they are ashamed by her nakedness. As we follow Detective Nassir's investigation of the case, the secret life of the holy city of Mecca is revealed.

Tackling powerful issues, Raja Alem reveals a city and a civilization at once beholden to brutal customs, and reckoning uneasily with new traditions. Told from a variety of
perspectives The Dove's Necklace is an ambitious portrait of a changing city, exploring the disappearing world of Mecca from the unique perspective of a female Saudi author, whose writing is beautiful and evocative.

Reviews

'Alem is an accomplished author... Her winning novel reclaims a past Mecca and is told in a high, historic-folkloric tone'  The Guardian

'Raja Alem's reputation in contemporary Arabic literature [is] similar to Nabokov's in ours: masterful, erudite, w itty, and somew hat dangerous'  BOMB 

Raja Alem

About Raja Alem

Raja Alem was born in Mecca and now lives in Paris. She has recieved numerous international awards for her novels and her other writing. In 2011 she became the first woman to win the International Prize for Arabic Fiction.