Celestial Bodies is set in the village of al-Awafi in Oman, where we encounter three sisters: Mayya, who marries Abdallah after a heartbreak; Asma, who marries from a sense of duty; and Khawla who rejects all offers while waiting for her beloved, who has emigrated to Canada. These three women and their families witness Oman evolve from a traditional, slave-owning society slowly redefining itself after the colonial era, to the crossroads of its complex present. Elegantly structured and taut, Celestial Bodies is a coiled spring of a novel, telling of Oman’s coming-of-age through the prism of one family’s losses and loves.
`A richly imagined, engaging and poetic insight into a society in transition and into lives previously obscured.''-The Man Booker International Prize judges' `It skilfully builds suspense by creating "Aha!" moments as characters come to better understand their pasts.'-Marcia Lynx Qualey, The National' `Compelling...'-Women In Translation' `Blends the rhythms of daily life with magic and legend.'-Muhammad Barrada' `Well written and multi-faceted, as every book long-listed for the Man Booker International Prize ought to be.'-Dolce Belleza' `Delivers the reader immediately into the world of the marginal, forgotten, most subaltern sectors of society.'-Ibrahim al-Hajari' `This novel is interesting as a lens through which to view an important time in the transition of Omani society'-The Wee Review' `Finished it in a couple of sittings, addictive, compelling, informative and completely fascinating to read! Definitely recommend it, fingers crossed it appears on the short list too.'-Fiona Sharp, Independent Book Reviews; `A beautifully written and very moving story.'-Nicola Sturgeon; `Fascinating.'-The Guardian; `Alharthi has a strong narrative gift, transporting the reader into all the intimacies of a close-knit family group.'-The Bay Magazine; `Brings a distinctive and important new voice to world literature.' -The Irish Times; 'An ambitious, sweeping, highly assured piece of fiction, in which the early 20th century jostles with the present day.' -The Herald
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